News in Brief
Arizona: A sheriff’s deputy who roughed up a 15-year-old quadruple amputee during an arrest at a state-operated group home in September 2019 will not face excessive use of force charges, the Pima County Attorney’s Office announced March 10, 2020. “The teen, in a group home after being abandoned by his family, apparently knocked over a garbage can and verbally threatened a worker. That’s why the deputy was called to the home,” KOLD News reported. Video from the incident went viral. “Imagine you were this boy with no limbs who just got tackled by this large man with a badge and gun and this man is now screaming in your face and he’s now threatening your friend who’s recording this whole incident … Absolutely, that’s egregious,” Pima County Public Defender Joel Feinman told KOLD News. Disorderly conduct charges against the teen were dropped.
California: In an apparent murder-suicide, Law & Crime reported on March 9, 2020, that assistant U.S. attorney Timothy Delgado of Granite Bay fatally shot his wife Tamara Delgado before turning the gun on himself. Delgado was a prosecutor in the Eastern District of California. Delgado prosecuted narcotics and firearms cases. The couple were married for about five months. An investigation continues.
California: A landlord in August 2018 called South Pasadena Police to perform a wellness check on actress Vanessa Marquez, who was known for her roles on ER and Stand and Deliver. The day ended badly, according to thefreethoughtproject.com. When police arrived, Marquez, 49, said she was having a seizure. Officers Gilberto Carrillo and Christopher Perez said they would take her for an examination with a mental health professional at Huntington Memorial Hospital. A county mental health clinician also spoke with her. She pleaded against that. Marquez brought out a BB gun, and officers fired 12 rounds, according to the Los Angeles Times, and it was captured on bodycam video. Marquez is heard telling the cops of the “seizure” and pleading: “don’t take me to the hospital.” Marquez’s mother, Delia McElfresh, filed a wrongful-death claim in 2019 against the city of South Pasadena seeking $20 million.
California: A jury in January 2020 awarded $710,000 to Joseph Green, who filed a civil suit over false arrest and excessive force after a Stockton police officer permanently knocked out his two front teeth in 2011. Green was 16 when he and his 5-year-old sister stopped by a gas station convenience store to buy candy. Green tried using a damaged bill at the checkout, which got the attention of plainclothes cop Robert Johnson and his partner Officer Robert Wong. Johnson ordered Green to exit the store and showed his badge. Green told him: “F you and your badge.” According to KQED.org, “The store’s surveillance cameras captured a violent altercation between Green and Johnson that played out over the next 10 minutes, video that was played over and over again in court.” It “appears to contradict information in Johnson’s police report on the incident and parts of his sworn testimony in the civil case. The arrest for allegedly trespassing and resisting arrest ended with Green being hauled out of the store in handcuffs, his blood and two front teeth left behind on the floor.” Green’s attorney asserted that his client was paid back for “mouthing off” to the officer. Johnson denied excessive use of force. Video footage also showed the officer placing handheld shopping baskets in the aisle after the incident; a photo of it wound up in the police report. “The jury found Johnson acted with ‘malice, oppression or fraud,’ and that his partner, Officer Wong, failed to stop the excessive use of force and played a role in Green’s false arrest,” the news site reports.
Florida: A three-year grant of $1.2 million from Florida first lady Casey DeSantis will help fund Gadsden County’s criminal justice diversion program, a project projected to help 150 people with services over three years. “We really understand that goes to the physical wellbeing of the people of this county,” DeSantis said, “but also the mental health, which obviously they’re struggling and they need some help.” Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young expects the program will reduce mass incarceration. “The incarceration rate is going to go down, the cycle of violence is going to go down, and the people are going to be much safer in Gadsden County, so I’m looking forward to this.”
Florida: Amanda Kondrat’yev was sentenced last November to 15 days behind bars and a year of supervised probation — for lobbing a slushie at a lawmaker, usatoday.com reports. She stood with a group of protesters when she reportedly tossed the red drink at U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz. He complained about being struck by the beverage. The incident happened as he was leaving a town hall event at a restaurant in Pensacola. According to newsweek.com, “Gaetz was present at the sentencing and asked the court to give Kondrat’yev a jail sentence as opposed to probation to keep people from showing up at his events ‘to cause harm to my supporters or me.’ Only incarceration allows me to reinforce to my supporters and opponents alike that Free Speech is welcomed—but assault will not be tolerated,” said Gaetz. The Congressman, meanwhile, had his own run-in. “He was arrested in Okaloosa County on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol,” newsweek.com reports. “Those charges were later dropped.” According to usatoday.com: “Kondrat’yev was one of several candidates running against Gaetz for Jeff Miller’s seat in 2016 before she withdrew from the race.
Indiana: Galveston Police Department Marshal Steven Jones was arrested in February 2020 by state police detectives for possession of a fraudulent sales document and delivery of a false sales document, theindychannel.com reports. Jones was a bus driver and contracted provider of buses in addition to his law enforcement job. “Detectives turned up evidence that Jones allegedly created fraudulent invoices which were submitted to the school corporation for reimbursement. Police found that repairs were not completed as indicated on the fraudulent invoices,” theindychannel.com reports.
Kentucky: Breonna Taylor of Louisville was in bed when police rained bullets into the home where she was sleeping. The 26-year-old died from a gunshot wound, the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office told WAVE News. Narcotics detectives, armed with a drug search warrant and a battering ram, arrived at her home. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, exchanged gunfire with Metro Police Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly. Walker was charged with the attempted murder of a police officer after Mattingly was struck in the upper thigh. Walker, 27, was released from jail after his arrest. His defense attorney Rob Eggert and the victim’s family said the couple were not drug dealers, and no drugs were found. They said Walker, a registered gun owner, fired in self-defense and that cops were looking for someone who didn’t live at the house. Taylor “was already an accomplished and certified EMT for the City of Louisville and currently worked for UofL as a medical tech. This is not a woman who would sacrifice her life and her family morals and values to sell drugs on the street,” Bonica Austin, Taylor’s aunt, told WHAS 11. “Had Breonna Taylor been killed by anyone except police, the person or persons responsible for her death would have been charged with a homicide,” Eggert said, also alleging Walker is a “victim of police misconduct.”
Maryland: Ten years ago, the Baltimore Police Department made a record bust: Over 90 pounds of cocaine “valued between $2 million and $3 million” were seized in a truck during a home raid in the Rosemont community, baltimoresun.com reports. Since then, 14 officers who had been involved face criminal charges by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, baltimoresun.com reports. The 14th is Ivo Louvado, former detective and ATF task force member, who was charged March 12, 2020, “with lying to the FBI about participating in a scheme to sell cocaine from that bust. Prosecutors said in court records that he and two others conspired to sell 3 kilograms that were not reported as seized, giving the drugs to a confidential informant to sell and dividing the proceeds among themselves. Louvado’s alleged cut: $10,000.” Prosecutors allege “that Louvado and other officers conducted the surveillance, and entered the home and waited inside as [GTTF Sgt. Wayne] Jenkins and [Craig] Jester obtained the search warrant. Louvado had never before seen the truck parked outside, prosecutors allege now.” The continuing investigation “uncovered long-running misconduct by members of the Gun Trace Task Force, including robbing citizens, lying in police reports and drug dealing.”
Massachusetts: Environmental Police slapped four Hampden teens with a total of $750 in fines for not heeding motorcycle permitting regulations — all while riding on a family’s property. “One of the teens’ mothers, Melanie Beck gave permission for the teens to ride on her property,” reports thefreethoughtproject.com. “She said making contact with police on her own land has put a bad taste in the mouths of the teens who wanted nothing more than to go riding in the woods.” Statewide, recreation vehicles on private and public land must be must be registered and those under 18 complete a safety and responsibility class.
Nevada: A former Las Vegas police detective with the Metropolitan Police Department’s major violators unit had an affair with a stripper and ended up with 40 felony and gross misdemeanor charges. Ex-cop Lawrence Rinetti Jr. and police union official Michael Ramirez face charges, according to a recent grand jury indictment, KTNV.com reports. The detective reportedly supplied stolen drugs and jewels to the confidential informant with whom he was having an affair. Rinetti allegedly received unlawfully obtained drugs and minerals “from a man named Dan Dietzel in August 2019,” KTNV.com reports. In addition, Rinetti is accused of stealing from his girlfriend’s mother and helping her “pass court-ordered urine tests numerous times.” He recruited Ramirez to help in December 2018. In addition, “Rinetti drove through a red light without justification and either killed or caused substantial bodily harm to a woman” on November 12, 2018. At another time, “he attempted to commit insurance fraud by telling an insurance company that he was attempting to pull over a reckless driver when he knew that was not true.” Said his lawyer, David Roger, the former district attorney of Clark County. “Officer Ramirez will plead not guilty and require the prosecutors to prove their case against him beyond a reasonable doubt at the time of trial.” In the new year, “Rinetti was at a drug bust on Las Vegas Boulevard North, where witnesses said he stole 1.2 ounces of methamphetamine, which he provided to DiLorenzo to sell,” according to the Las Vegas Reviews.
New York: Accused methamphetamine dealer Rasedur Raihan reportedly violated home detention when he failed drug tests and skipped drug treatment. The state wanted to send him to the Metropolitan Correctional Center, but the coronavirus made that risky. “If this were a month ago, I think that would be a relatively easy call,” said Magistrate Judge James Orenstein, as reported in the New York Daily News March 19, 2020. Of the jail, he said: “And let’s not kid ourselves. The more people we crowd into that facility the more we’re increasing the risk to the community. I’m really hesitant to respond to drug usage with incarceration given that risk.” Raihan was arrested in 2019 after agents at JFK Airport intercepted a mailing from Bangladesh showing his Queens address and containing more than 130 grams of meth.
Ohio: Two former vice cops, who at one time arrested Stormy Daniels in Columbus, have been slapped with charges by a federal grand jury in March 2020. According to reason.com, investigators say the longtime detectives harassed strip club owners, staff and patrons. Steven G. Rosser of Delaware and Whitney R. Lancaster of Columbus allegedly conspired to violate others’ civil rights and to commit wire fraud, reason.com reports. Both had been longtime members of the Columbus Division of Police. “In April 2018, Rosser, Lancaster, and some of their colleagues allegedly stopped and searched the owner of the Dollhouse strip club without probable cause.” Also, “[a]ccording to the feds, Rosser got in a fight with a patron at Nick’s Cabaret in 2015 and ‘allegedly represented that he was acting in the course and scope of his employment as a police officer during the fight and in the days that followed,’ when he had the man ‘seized and searched without probable cause.’”
South Carolina: Robert Lewis Beard II, a former Aiken County Sheriff’s Office deputy, faces 18 counts of molesting children, thestate.com reports. These include “sexual conduct with a minor, including first, second and third degrees and several counts of lewd act upon a child under 16. The 40-year-old is serving his current sentence from charges of aggravated child molestation and incest,” WCIV.com reports. The new arrest warrant alleges he committed “criminal sexual conduct with a girl over 14 years old between December 2003 and December 2005” and with another “girl between January 2006 and December 2007, and another incident with a 13-year-old girl in January 2013.”
Washington, D.C.: Duncan D. Hunter, a former U.S. congressman, was sentenced in March 2020 to 11 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release for misusing campaign funds to enrich his personal life, washingtonpost.com reports. Investigators say the California Republican “used hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds to pay for family vacations, theater tickets and even to facilitate extramarital affairs, while Hunter countered that he was being unfairly targeted by a politicized Justice Department,” washingtonpost.com reports. “While Hunter ultimately pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds late last year, the move came after he had successfully sought reelection. He resigned early this year.” Hunter, who declared the case a “witch hunt” and “simply about misspending,” sought home confinement. Prosecutors wrote in the sentencing recommendation: “Our very democracy is at risk when a criminal like Hunter wins an election by weaponizing the tropes of fake news and the deep state. This is not a mere philosophical debate in the 50th Congressional district; it is a fact.”