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News in Brief

Alabama: An officer with the Sulligent Police Department named Gary Farrior, 60, was arrested on September 5, 2017 and indicted on 12 child sex-related crimes. Investigators with the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation began looking into Farrior after medical professionals alerted law enforcement in June. Two of the victims are younger than 12 years of age, and one is older than 12. He has been in law enforcement for decades and has been with the Sulligent Police Department for over 15 years. His bond has been set at $500,000.

Connecticut: Former State Troopers Xavier Cruz and Rupert Laird were terminated in early September 2017. They face multiple charges in connection with the kidnapping and hour-long beating of a man accused of pinching a woman’s butt. Court documents reveal that Laird told the victim “you touched my girl, you know you’re gonna pay for this.” The victim was taken to a basement and told to remove his glasses and clothing. He was then headbutted and reported being kicked and punched over 20 times. He was also beaten with a baton more than 15 times and ordered to kneel on a metal kitchen grater. The victim went to the hospital for his injuries, and a nurse there notified the police, which prompted the investigation into Cruz and Laird. 

Georgia: Lt. Greg Abbott with the Cobb County Police Department was caught on dash cam video telling a woman during a traffic stop in July 2016 that “we only kill black people….” The shocking exchange occurred when the passenger in the vehicle told Abbott that she was afraid to put her hands down and reach for her phone because, “I’ve just seen way too many videos of cops—.” That’s when he interrupted her, saying “But you’re not black. Remember, we only kill black people. Yeah, we only kill black people, right?” Over a year after the incident actually took place, Cobb County officials announced plans on August 31, 2017 to fire the 28-year veteran officer. 

Idaho: State Police paid $24,000 to settle a federal lawsuit filed by Ashlyn Moreno. She accused former ISP Detective Ryan Blackhawk of coercing her into having sex with him in connection with a federal drug case in which she was the target. He was an investigator on the case, but prosecutors were forced to drop it after the accusations surfaced. By the time she filed her lawsuit, the ISP had already fired Blackhawk following an internal investigation. The settlement was filed on October 16, 2017.

Illinois: Former Chicago Police Officer Aldo Brown’s 2016 conviction for sucker-punching a convenience store clerk was upheld by the U.S. 7th Circuit on September 8, 2017. The Court described the incident as follows: “Officer Aldo Brown sucker-punched a store employee for no apparent reason. As the dazed employee attempted to stagger away, Brown continued to beat and kick him for about two minutes.” At trial, Brown sought to introduce expert testimony from a former Chicago cop who apparently was ready to testify that Brown’s actions were consistent with Department policy. If Brown’s actions were, indeed, consistent with internal policy, it’s little wonder that the Illinois Attorney General is suing for federal oversight of the Chicago Police Department. The trial court refused to allow the troubling expert testimony, and Brown appealed the ruling following his conviction. The 7th Circuit summarily rejected his appeal, and in a nod to the painfully obvious, it observed that “specialized knowledge” was not required for lay jurors to conclude that continuously beating and kicking a dazed person for two minutes for no apparent reason constitutes excessive force.  

Indiana: On September 29, 2017, Carroll County deputy Jason Dunning was charged with making an unlawful proposition for attempting to solicit a couple for sex. Dunning made the indecent proposal in late August while he was off-duty. He submitted his letter of resignation on October 2, 2017; he had been with the department since July 2007.

Louisiana: New Orleans Police Officer William Burford was arrested on September 9, 2017 for raping a sleeping and highly intoxicated woman in her own bed. She happened to be the roommate of the officer’s girlfriend. The 20-year-old victim awoke to find Burford on top of her, asking “You can keep a secret, right?” Fortunately for all residents of the city, she didn’t, and Burford was taken into custody. Investigators report that the victim could not resist because she was so severely impaired at the time of the attack. A written statement released by the New Orleans Police Department assures: “The allegations against Mr. Burford in no way reflect the values of the NOPD.” The public can now rest easy knowing that forcibly raping an incapacitated woman in her own bed doesn’t reflect the values of the city’s police department.   

Maryland: The former head of the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force, Sgt. Thomas Allers, was arrested in September 2017 after being indicted on nine counts of robbery and extortion. He is accused of stealing over $90,000. His M.O. was to steal money from homes in which he had executed a search warrant. According to prosecutors, he took money from individuals who hadn’t committed any crimes and would later falsify incident reports to indicate that little or no money had been seized. Seven other members of the Task Force were indicted in March for their involvement in the racketeering conspiracy.

Massachusetts: On October 19, 2017, Boston Police Officer Joseph Nee, 44, was indicted for stealing $2,000 from the Department’s evidence room. The money was being stored in the evidence room as part of a closed bank robbery case. Investigators accuse him of trying to launder the stolen money at the Plainridge Park Casino. A Suffolk County Grand jury indicted Nee on charges of larceny over $350 and money laundering.

Minnesota: Minneapolis Police Officer David Edward Campbell, 58, was arrested on September 8, 2017 on charges that he sexually abused his son’s 16-year-old girlfriend during ride-alongs. On at least two occasions, he touched and kissed her breasts, and digitally penetrated her during one ride-along. When she attempted to push him away, Campbell, in full cop mode, ordered her to “stop resisting.” He warned the victim that he would shoot her in the head if she ever told on him because he would be in trouble and lose his kids.

Mississippi: Former Long Beach Police Officer Cassie Barker was charged with second-degree murder on September 28, 2017 for the agonizing death of her three-year-old daughter, Cheyenne Hyer. Barker left Cheyenne unattended in her patrol car for four hours while she visited the home of her supervisor, Sgt. Clark Ladner, in September of last year. Cheyenne’s body temperature was a mindboggling 107 degrees when she was eventually taken for medical treatment. Both Barker and Ladner were fired following Cheyenne’s death. If convicted, Barker faces up to 40 years in prison. 

Nebraska: In what can be described as a crappy end to the career of Omaha Police Sgt. Matthew Manhart, he abruptly retired this September after being accused of depositing his fecal matter where a specific co-worker would discover it. Although there are conflicting reports on precisely where the message-sending excrement was deposited, all agree that it wasn’t in a toilet. Manhart, 49, served as the head of the Omaha Police’s bomb detonation unit. He had an ongoing feud with a facility worker at the Omaha Public Safety Training Center, which served as the impetus for Manhart’s wayward deposit.

New York: The well-known idiom “crime doesn’t pay” certainly doesn’t apply to those charged with fighting it, in New York at least. According to a study released this September by the Empire Center, a non-partisan think tank, the highest paid local government employee outside of New York City for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2017 was a Ramapo town police officer named Thomas C. Donnelly, who took home a budget busting $441,968. By comparison, Gov. Cuomo earned $179,000 last year. Donnelly’s huge payday, however, is not an aberration. In fact, for the second straight year, 47 of the 50-highest paid local government employees outside of New York City were police officers, with 20 officers from the Village of Kings Point in Nassau County averaging $220,088. As a spokesperson for the Empire Center points out, “Personnel costs are the biggest part of most local government budgets, and thereby the biggest driver behind our high property taxes.”

North Carolina: Wilmington Police Department Sgt. Kenneth Becker was demoted after being caught on video lying to an Uber driver during a traffic stop on February 26. Becker is seen on the video warning the driver that there’s a new state law that prohibits the recording of police interactions. There’s no such law; it was a bald-faced lie. Unfortunately for Becker, the driver happens to be a young defense attorney who drives for Uber on the side, so he was fairly confident that Becker was lying to him. Becker was demoted in late October following an Internal Affairs investigation. His demotion comes with a 5% reduction in pay. 

Ohio: In early September 2017, former East Cleveland cop, Kenneth Bolton Jr., pleaded guilty to charges of gross sexual imposition and interfering with civil rights. His guilty plea was the result of him sexually abusing two women with a sex toy during an illegal traffic stop in February. According to prosecutors, Bolton heard over police radio that another officer had pulled the victims over about 30 minutes earlier. Once he spotted their vehicle, he opted to pull them over again. During the illegal traffic stop, he somehow discovered a sex toy in the vehicle and made the decision to sexually assault the women with it as they sat helplessly in the car. Bolton was fired within two weeks of the bizarre sexual assault and appalling abuse of power. He was stripped of his license to be a police officer and is required to register as a sex offender.

Oklahoma: Former Tulsa Police Officer Shannon Kepler, 57, was convicted of first-degree manslaughter on October 18, 2017 for fatally shooting his daughter’s 19-year-old boyfriend in August 2014. Kepler was off-duty at the time of the fatal shooting. Although he claimed the victim had a gun and that he shot in self-defense, no gun was ever recovered from the crime scene. The jury recommended a prison sentence of 15 years.

Pennsylvania: Bucks County Deputy Sheriff Stephen Springfield, 39, was accused of flashing something at a woman in a local park, but it wasn’t his badge. On October 9, 2017, he was charged with indecent exposure, open lewdness, and disorderly conduct for exposing himself in public. According to the woman, he attempted to show her some porn he had on his phone, but after she rebuffed his bizarre advances, he inexplicably tried to lure her into his truck by jiggling “a bag of Starburst Chews” at her (an adult woman). Days after that initial encounter, she saw Springfield questioning a “10-to-12-year-old boy” at the same park. She immediately intervened by warning the boy to stay away from him and told Springfield to leave and “not come back.” Nevertheless, days later, she spotted him at the park engaged in his familiar M.O. of attempting to show a woman cellphone porn and enticing her with jiggling bags of candy. She took a picture of Springfield’s license plate, and he was arrested a short time later. He was released on $25,000 surety bond. 

South Carolina: On September 13, 2017, former South Carolina state trooper, Brandon Norton, was charged with reckless homicide. While driving his police cruiser on July 13 of this year, he was doing 80 mph in a 40 mph zone. In addition to traveling twice the posted speed limit, he ran a stop sign and crashed into a minivan, sending the 77- and 81-year-old occupants to the hospital. The latter victim died on August 18. N

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