News in Brief
California: A detective assigned to handle child molestation cases in the Special Victims Bureau at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department was arrested on November 16, 2018, on charges of raping a 14-year-old girl, the latimes.com reports. Neil Kimball, a 20-year department veteran, was “booked on suspicion of rape by force and preventing or dissuading a victim from testifying.” He was at a medical facility when he was taken into custody after the sheriff’s department investigated an outside tip. Kimball has since pleaded not guilty to the charges. The Los Angeles Times reported that the victim was the child in a case Kimball was investigating and that the alleged attack occurred in November 2017 in Ventura County. Kimball, 45, was relieved of duty with pay, and bail was set at $2 million, according to the sheriff’s department. Sara Abusheikh, a Los Angeles-based fashion designer, wasn’t surprised by the allegations, she told The Daily Beast. “… she tried to warn authorities about ‘creepy’ Kimball four years ago. The detective assigned to investigate her sexual assault case repeatedly crossed the line, she said—making flirtatious comments, accusing her of liking her alleged assailant, and even encouraging her to go back to see him.”
Colorado: FBI agent Chase Bishop, who accidentally fired his weapon into a man’s leg after doing a backflip at a Denver area bar, will avoid jail time after he pleaded guilty to third-degree assault in December 2018, time.com reports. Video footage at Mile High Spirits and Distillery shows the agent dancing and his gun discharging when he picks up his weapon after it falls mid-flip. “The agent then puts the gun into a waistband holster and walks away with his hands up,” Time reports. He was sentenced to two years’ probation to be served in Georgia and assessed fines and court costs of more than $1,600 in a plea deal. He was off-duty at the time of the shooting but in Colorado on FBI business. “The man who was shot, Tom Reddington, 24, spoke emotionally in court about how he lost his job at an Amazon warehouse after the shooting, his chronic pain and his concern that he may never be able to run again,” Time reports.
England: Metropolitan Police facial recognition technology earns an “F” for failure in London, leading to zero arrests and just one stop, techdirt.com reports. Even more disturbing is that the largest stakeholder, the public, can’t opt out of the technology. “Big Brother Watch says the Metro tech can scan 300 faces per second, running them against hot lists of criminal suspects,” techdirt.com reports. “The difference is no one’s approaching citizens to demand they identify themselves. The software does all the legwork and citizens have only one way to opt out: stay home.” Not surprisingly, “a Freedom of Information request from Big Brother Watch showed the Met’s facial recog had a 98 per cent false positive rate. The group has now said that a subsequent request found that 100 per cent of the so-called matches since May have been incorrect. A recent report from Cardiff University questioned the technology’s abilities in low light and crowds – which doesn’t bode well for a trial in some of the busiest streets in London just days before the winter solstice.”
Florida: Brendan D’Arcangelo, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency undercover agent, faces a charge of driving under the influence from a Dec. 2, 2018, vehicle crash, according to The Palm Beach Post. Law enforcement and court records report that the 52-year-old “slammed his agency-owned pickup into two vehicles as they waited at a red light in Greenacres.” D’Arcangelo, the Post reports, “had articulable signs of impairment,” including glassy eyes, slurred speech and an unsteady gait, and his breath smelled of alcohol.” D’Arcangelo did not appear to brake before striking the vehicles, a witness told officers. Two people were reportedly taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries. He refused a field-sobriety test and Breathalyzer test and left jail about 60 minutes after he was booked. Refusal can lead to a one-year license suspension in the state.
Illinois: Cook County’s first Filipina judge, Jessica Arong O’Brien, was sentenced to one year of prison in December 2018 for her role in a $1.4 million mortgage fraud scheme before she served on the bench, chicagotribune.com reports. She “was convicted of lying to lenders to obtain more than $1.4 million in mortgages on two South Side investment properties that she bought and sold between 2004 and 2007 while owning a real estate company” and employed at the Illinois Department of Revenue as a special assistant attorney general, chicagotribune.com reports. “Prosecutors alleged at trial that O’Brien made a profit by unloading the two homes in 2007 by paying kickbacks to a straw purchaser. In all, O’Brien pocketed at least $325,000 from the transactions, Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Madden said. She also caused losses to lenders after the straw purchaser defaulted on payments and the properties wound up in foreclosure, he said.” Her resignation from the bench was effective in September 2018.
Louisiana: Terry Yetman, a decorated Bossier City police officer, voluntarily surrendered to authorities after learning of a warrant for his arrest for having sex with an animal, nypost.com reports. Yetman was charged in December 2018 “with 20 counts of sexual abuse of animals by performing sexual acts with an animal, and 20 counts of filming sexual acts with an animal, according to the Louisiana State Police,” wgno.com reports. The special victim’s unit of the state police, armed with a search warrant at Yetman’s residence, found “pornography involving sexual acts with an animal on electronic devices belonging to Yetman.” Jail bond was set at $350,000, and Yetman remains on paid administrative leave pending the investigation’s outcome. In early 2018, the officer earned the Trey Hutchison award for his work with domestic violence victims.
Massachusetts: A Boston police officer, who was named one of the city’s 2017 Police Officer of the Year honorees, pleaded not guilty at arraignment to shooting his wife in December 2018, according to wbur.org. Police said Korey Franklin shot his wife Christmas Eve, a night during which they argued in their home in the Hyde Park neighborhood while he was off duty, nydailynews.com reports. While officers initially thought the gunshot was accidentally self-inflicted, detectives said “Franklin ‘was responsible for the discharge of his personal weapon and the resulting injuries,’“ the news site reports. The 32-year-old officer “was charged with reckless assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, misleading an investigation, and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building.” Franklin’s lawyer called the shooting an accident.
Michigan: Scott Stephenson pleaded, mumbled and cursed that he shouldn’t be arrested for drunk driving because he was a Midland County sheriff. He gave officers in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula a profanity-laden earful — all of it caught on body camera. “When asked to perform a breathalyzer test [November 16, 2018], he scored a 0.23 percent blood alcohol level–almost three times Michigan’s legal limit of 0.08 percent. Under Michigan law, anything over 0.17 percent is considered ‘super drunk’ driving,” lawandcrime.com reports. The sheriff, in fact, had just come from a deer hunting party when he pulled onto the shoulder of a snowy road. A deputy who knocked on his windshield saw him slumped over the wheel of a county-owned car. EMS personnel followed. Stephenson reportedly had difficulty walking the line. And then he had a rough time even blowing enough air into the breathalyzer. He told officers at the scene: “Jesus Christ, I’m a sheriff. I’m a constitutional fucking officer. You can’t take me to fucking jail. I’m a goddamn sheriff,” he says. “I’m the fucking Midland County sheriff.” The cop was arrested and handcuffed, eventually pleading guilty to operating a motor vehicle while visibly impaired. His sentence was a fine and one-year probation, mlive.com reports. He reportedly has no plans to seek re-election in 2020.
New Jersey: An off-duty Trenton police officer who fatally shot a man at a family gathering had a history of using excessive force, including 43 encounters between 2012 and 2016 alone, ranking him first in his department for use of force, according to theappeal.org. Sheehan Miles, who said he was trying to diffuse a struggle at a family memorial celebration in Trenton’s Liberian community, killed Alfred Toe. However, the family says the situation between Alfred and his brother Constantine was under control when the plainclothes officer who did not identify himself intervened, according to an August 2018 civil rights lawsuit filed against the officer and the police department over the 2016 death. Alfred had retrieved a gun during an argument but Constantine urged him to return the weapon and managed to disarm him, although the weapon fired and shot Constantine in the hand. What occurred next is under dispute. “Local prosecutors said Miles was holding the brother’s gun in one hand and his own in his other, when Toe attempted to ‘gain control’ of one of the weapons,” theappeal.org reports. “In the ensuing struggle, they said, Toe ‘was shot once in the chest’ and later pronounced dead at the hospital.” The family’s lawsuit filed by widow Kristi Williams alleges that “Miles shot Alfred while telling him to ‘stand back’ away from his brother, who was on the ground being arrested,” the trentonian.com reports. The lawsuit, according to the trentonian,com, “says Toe was at least five feet away from Miles when he was shot in the chest, and that law enforcement conspired to cover up what truly happened that night by not testing the cop for alcohol and marijuana.” The county prosecutor said Miles’ use of force was legally justified because “he was acting to protect himself and others from imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm.”
New York: Arrests have been made in the double homicide of Amber Washburn, 24, and Joshua Niles, 28 — and surprisingly, the suspects are two Texas law enforcement officers. “(Timothy) Dean, the former police chief of the Texas Panhandle city of Sunray, was charged Monday [November 5, 2018] with first- and second-degree murder and conspiracy in the slayings.” His wife, 25-year-old Charlene Childers, “was charged with conspiracy.” Two days later, “authorities said they arrested a third suspect at his Texas home, 34-year-old Bron Bohlar, on a warrant for conspiracy. Bohlar is an officer in Sunray.” Both Dean and Childers were also jailed on a charge of injuring a child in May 2018.
Ohio: Thefreethoughtproject.org says folks in Columbus are outraged that a law enforcement officer busted for possession and distribution of child pornography involving small children was recently given a reduced sentence of 90 days in jail and a fine, a lenient penalty compared to say a man selling pot plants in Louisiana receiving five years behind bars. Dean Worthington, a former police sergeant of the Columbus Division, was “secretly” contributing to a child pornography ring while he was on the force, the news site reports, and downloading child porn to his personal phone, according to Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien. “Worthington pleaded guilty [in November 2018] to four counts of sex-related charges including illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance and three counts of pandering sexually-oriented material involving a minor,” the website notes. A tip triggered the investigation and eventual search warrants. “In May 2018, the National Center for Missing and exploited children tipped off the Franklin County Internet Crimes against Children task force to someone uploading child porn to social media site Tumblr,” NBC4 reports.
Ohio: Franklin Township officers tried to pull over driver Anthony Foster Jr. for lack of registration, but the failed attempt led to a chase with speeds up to 90 mph through residential neighborhoods and yards. It ended when a police officer allegedly kicked the handcuffed 18-year-old suspect in the head — behavior that was captured on a bystander’s cellphone video. The teen is seen “face-down on the ground, with another officer on top of him, [and] a Franklin Township police officer is seen punting his face like a football,” the freethoughtproject.org reports. Robert Wells, a former part-time Franklin Township officer who resigned in May, pleaded guilty to one count of violating civil rights, according to Ron O’Brien, a Franklin County prosecutor. “Foster was accused of breaking several laws and deserved to be given due process. However, thanks to an officer who couldn’t control himself, the taxpayers will now be held accountable,” thefreethoughtproject.org reports. Family members said Foster suffered a concussion, in addition to bruises and cuts. Wells, meanwhile, reportedly has a history of unreasonable force, prompting his dismissal from the Pataskala Police department in 2002.
Pennsylvania: An investigation by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office led to the arrest of former court clerk William McGinley for allegedly stealing $43,000 from a county office to gamble. McGinley was charged in December 2018 with “theft, tampering with public records and other crimes,” Pennlive.com reports. “Authorities say the Jim Thorpe man stole funds from bail money and prison booking fees while working as a Carbon County Clerk of Courts,” apnews.com reports. “McGinley retired on May 1 after serving 28 years. Officials say McGinley told special agents on Dec. 3 that he had used stolen funds to gamble on poker machines.” Bail was set at $50,000.
Texas: Juveniles, who were accused of everything from misdemeanors to violent crimes, were released by District Court Judge Glenn Devlin the morning after he lost his November 6, 2018, midterm election, the Houston Chronicle reported. They simply had to answer the question: If released, did they plan to kill anyone? Devlin “was releasing everybody,” public defender Steven Halpert said. “Apparently he was saying that’s what the voters wanted.” Devlin “is one of two juvenile court judges in Harris County whose track records favoring incarceration contributed heavily to doubling the number of kids Harris County sent to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department in recent years, even as those figures fell in the rest of the state.” He lost his seat in a sweep by Democrats.
Texas: School cop Omario Gatheright, who allegedly plowed his patrol car into an innocent 50-year-old woman carrying groceries in December 2018, was captured on video fleeing the scene and leaving her with injuries, according to thefreethoughtproject.com. The off-duty Aldine Independent School District officer said he would return but did not for an hour, police report. Although his girlfriend attempted to take the blame, the video and a witness statement prompted Gatheright to confess. On the video, “the woman, carrying grocery bags, can be seen walking out of a parking lot and crossing the street at the same time as Gatheright is pulling out of a parking lot directly across from her. He turns onto the street, then hits the woman, who is pushed several feet on the hood of the car, then slides onto the pavement when Gatheright hits the brakes,” according to Click2Houston.com. The officer was placed on administrative leave and charged with failure to stop and render aid.
Virginia: Sheriff’s Captain Donny Lewis Dixon might have received jail time and placement on a sex offender’s list, but he didn’t. The 40-year-old “was originally charged with distributing child pornography [but] has pleaded guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor,” kutv.com reports. In a plea agreement, “Dixon’s 12-month jail sentence has been suspended, providing he complete therapy and treatment, and avoid unsupervised contact with unrelated minors. He resigned from his Chesterfield County post shortly after his arrest.” He also cannot seek work in law enforcement, the plea deal says. According to richmond.com, “Peter Baruch, Dixon’s defense attorney, said there was not enough evidence to support a felony prosecution in the case.”
Washington: Former Spokane police Sergeant Gordon Ennis was sentenced to seven years behind bars on August 24, 2018, after a jury convicted him of second-degree rape of a fellow officer, according to The Spokeman-Review. The woman officer told the court she was betrayed by the firearms instructor. She said she loved law enforcement but was ostracized by some of her colleagues after the 2015 assault at a drunken house party. Investigators discovered the woman’s DNA in Ennis’ car. On Aug. 16, 2018, a superior court judge denied Ennis’ request for a new trial after he blamed his attorney for not “adequately casting doubt on the victim’s testimony.” He “also alleged that prosecutors violated his rights when they told the jury during closing arguments that he did not talk to investigators before testifying in open court.”
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