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News in Brief

Alabama: Limestone County District Judge Douglas Patterson, 37, was arrested in December 2019 after an investigation by the FBI and its law enforcement partners. Patterson, a judge since 2016, was charged in a three-count grand jury indictment for theft, financial exploitation of the elderly and use of office for personal gain, al.com and courthousenews.com report. Investigators said Patterson took $47,800 from an elderly veteran through financial exploitation that began before he became a judge and $47,000 from the county Juvenile Court Services Fund. “Patterson wrote about 70 checks to himself from the account and either cashed the checks or deposited the money into his personal bank account, his law firm’s operating account, and his law firm’s client-trust account, state prosecutors” report, according to al.com. In addition, while serving as a conservator for Rudolph Allen, Patterson is accused of withdrawing “between $499 and $1,500 from Allen’s estate for his own use after the man had died,” courthousenews.com reports. “Patterson faces up to 20 years in prison and up to a $30,000 fine for each charge of using his position for personal gain and financial exploitation of the elderly,” WHNT.com reports. “He faces up to five years in prison and a $7,500 fine for the theft charge.”

Arizona: A nanny cam that caught Deputy U.S. Marshal David Timothy Moon smelling a 3-year-old girl’s dirty underwear he dug out of her laundry hamper while touring a Phoenix home for sale in May 2019 was sentenced to two years’ unsupervised probation, lawandcrime.com reports on February 2, 2020. After sniffing the underwear, Moon returned to the child’s room minutes later. He appeared to notice the nanny cam. “Goddamn it,” he was heard saying on video. The now-fired Moon had been “charged with two counts of felony trespassing with sexual motivation, but managed to get a plea deal for misdemeanor trespassing.” Moon, 50, had been a federal agent 24 years. Moon told the court it was “by far the stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my life.”

Colorado: A Denver sheriff’s deputy transporting prisoners in a silver van drove 90-100 mph on Interstate 25 as he reportedly raced a red pickup truck, according to news reports about the January 16, 2020 incident. Colorado State Patrol Deputy James Grimes was cited for reckless driving, three counts of reckless endangerment and speeding 40 mph over the speed limit in a construction zone where the posted limit was 60 mph. Grimes’ pickup driver, Daniel Franklin was arrested on suspicion of DUI, driving under restraint, speeding 40 mph or more over the posted limit, reckless driving and showing no proof of insurance. Both men were weaving in and out of traffic. Troopers tracked the two vehicles with the help of a CSP helicopter. Grimes was spotted with three prisoners and another deputy. “The van was allowed to continue to transport the prisoners while a thorough investigation was conducted,” a sheriff’s statement said. “Both deputies were immediately reassigned and the driver then placed on administrative leave,” KDVR.com reports. Grimes was in the news in 2010 as one of five deputies involved in the death of a prisoner “who died due to ‘cardiorespiratory arrest during physical restraint,’ the coroner found at the time,” denverpost.com reports.

Georgia: In January 2020, 30 members of a state trooper class were forced to give up their badges after being outed for cheating on an academy radar test, washingtonpost.com reports. The exam tested “how to operate speed-detection technology,” the news site reports. “The disciplinary measure came after a woman, who at one point had a relationship with one of the cadets, told officials that she had taken the exam for him, Department of Public Safety Commissioner Col. Mark W. McDonough said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon [January 29, 2020]. That prompted the department’s Office of Professional Standards to launch a three-month investigation” in fall 2019. When that cadet was disciplined, he spilled the beans on the others. The alleged cheating took various forms: one helped another with the online test; some used notes; others took advantage of GroupMe chat to test “questions and answers” and others used Snapchat to initiate “answer sharing.” “It’s a punch in the gut,” McDonough told the press. “This goes to our very core values. It’s something that is difficult to swallow.”

Iowa: Falsifying work hours landed a now-former Dunkerton police chief in hot water. Katherine Krieger pleaded guilty to second-degree theft and felonious misconduct in office in Black Hawk County District Court as part of a plea deal, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports. Investigators say that while the 25-year-old was working as chief she received money for those duties while working another law enforcement job and counted meetings she did not attend between March and April 2019, bringing $3,000 in unearned income. “As part of the plea, misdemeanor records tampering charges will be dismissed, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports. “Both charges are punishable by up to five years in prison, and probation is possible.”

Maryland: A now-suspended Baltimore cop is accused of providing a BB gun that he realized would be planted at an arrest scene, according to an indictment released in January 2020. According to The Washington Post, “Detective Robert A. Hankard, a 12-year veteran, was charged with conspiring to deprive civil rights, falsifying records and making false statements to a federal grand jury more than 10 months after charges were first filed in the case against his former sergeant, Keith Gladstone, who pleaded guilty last year.” The incident dates to March 2014, when Hankard got a call while off duty. His partner told him that “Sergeant W.J. [Jenkins] had been ‘hemmed up’ in something and asked Hankard if he had any ‘toys’ or ‘replicas.’ Hankard understood that his partner [Carmine Vignola] was asking for a BB gun or air soft gun so that it could be planted on a suspect,” thefreethoughtproject.com reports. The gun was allegedly used to cover up Jenkins running over the suspect in pursuit. In another incident in fall 2015, Hankard is accused of falsifying both an arrest report and search warrant in a case where drugs were planted on a suspect. The charges “are the latest in the slow-burning fallout from [Baltimore’s] Gun Trace Task Force scandal,” the Post reports.

Maryland: Former Fairmount Heights Police officer Martique Vanderpool was indicted by a grand jury in January 2020 on “11 counts, including first-degree rape, reckless endangerment, misconduct in office and knowingly attempting to expose someone to HIV,” according to washingtonpost.com. Citing court documents, news accounts said then-officer Vanderpool pulled the woman over in September 2019 for allegedly speeding, and phoned for her car to be impounded when she didn’t have a driver’s license. A second officer handcuffed her. Vanderpool allegedly demanded sex in exchange for the return of the woman’s vehicle after he took her to the police station. The victim said she complied because she feared for her safety, but still the officer gave the woman citations before taking her to the impound lot to retrieve her vehicle. While investigating, Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski learned that Vanderpool had HIV, and the victim was given a preventative medication. Investigators expressed concern that Vanderpool had sexual contact with others who did not know he had HIV.

Massachusetts: A Massachusetts State Police overtime scandal has investigators seeking restitution and the firing of 22 officers and the removal of pensions for 14 “recent retirees,” bostonglobe.com reports January 31, 2020. Payroll abuse “that included phony tickets and falsified time sheets” has roiled the agency, which saw 46 troopers implicated along with some higher-up officials. “Seven troopers have pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges.” A U.S. district court judge “reignited questions about the scandal and ordered prosecutors to re-examine whether it amounted to a broad criminal conspiracy.” Whatever the outcome, “the department will demand that the troopers reimburse taxpayers — dollar for dollar — for the pay they received for no-show shifts,” State Police Colonel Christopher Mason said. He also cited reforms at State Police going forward.

New Jersey: A former Newark police officer has confessed to taking thousands of dollars in bribes from brothel owners in exchange for protecting them from police action between 2011 and November 2016, nbcnewyork.com and other media report. In January 2020, Julio Rivera pleaded guilty in federal court to two counts of bribery and aiding and assisting in preparing a false 2015 personal federal tax return, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said in a release. Investigators said he sent his girlfriend to receive the payments. The Old Bridge resident faces up to 13 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $250,000, mycentraljersey.com reports. Sentencing is set for April 30.

New York: A retired NYPD police officer and a State Supreme Court Justice are among those ensnared in a credit union scandal. Ex-cop Joseph Guagliardo admitted in federal court in Manhattan to embezzling $450,000 from nonprofit Municipal Credit Union, nypost.com reports in January 2020. The siphoning of money allegedly took place between 2009 and 2018, a time in which Guagliardo served on the MCU Supervisory Committee. The money allegedly landed in Guagliardo’s personal businesses. “The former cop was arrested alongside Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Sylvia Ash, who once served on MCU’s board of directors and is facing obstruction of justice charges for deleting text messages and emails relating to the investigation,” nypost.com reports. Guagliardo’s one count of embezzlement carries a maximum penalty of 30 years behind bars. “In his plea agreement, he agreed to forfeit at least $425,514, and to pay at least $468,189 in restitution,” thechiefleader.com reports. Earlier it was reported that MCU’s former CEO confessed to stealing $10 million from the credit union and was sentenced to five and a half years in prison. “Last May, state regulators turned over the $3-billion credit union to the National Credit Union Administration for conservatorship,” thechiefleader.com reports.

New York: Former New York City police officer Michael Bergman was sentenced by a judge to just one day in jail (with time served) and four years’ probation for committing perjury on the witness stand, according to reason.com. “[H]e testified under oath before a grand jury that a man had tried to run him over in the hopes of sending him to prison for a crime he did not commit,” newsmaven.io reports. A public defender, Scott Hechinger, did not give up. After Pedro Barbosa was convicted of first-degree attempted assault and staring at up to 15 years in prison, the “public defender hired an investigator to look deeper into the case,” newsmaven.io reports. Video surveillance taken at a nearby business didn’t match the officer’s story from February 1, 2019. Barbosa says cops knew he had a drug problem and were out for him. While he did drive out of a parking spot after a traffic stop, he did not try to run Bergman or his partner over. “If not for that investigator, it would have been Barbosa’s word against Bergman’s, and Barbosa — an addict with prior arrests — almost certainly would have lost,” according to washingtonpost.com. Meanwhile, Barbosa “is working with a reentry program to get his life back on track.”

Ohio: Former Cleveland police officer Solomon Nhiwatiwa, who confessed to urinating on a 12-year-old girl at a school bus stop while video-recording it on his cellphone, was sentenced to four and a half years for attempted kidnapping, pandering obscenity, disseminating matter harmful to juveniles and endangering children, according to cleveland.com and Fox8. The sentence in January 2020 was a plea deal; the officer could have received seven and a half years. The child was at the bus stop in August 2019 when Nhiwatiwa “asked her if she needed a ride, court records say. Although she refused and he drove away, the off-duty officer returned on foot. “What is your problem?” she asked him after he urinated on her head, upper body and legs. “What’s wrong, b---h,” he replied. Although Nhiwatiwa apologized to the victim, Common Pleas Court Judge Wanda C. Jones said she didn’t think the ex-cop was truly sorry for his actions. “She said the physical and mental abuse he inflicted on the girl and his position as a police officer, which required him to protect the community from the very types of attacks he carried out, required consecutive sentences,” cleveland.com reports. The judge also admonished the Euclid Police Department for initially not taking the girl seriously. “She was victimized twice,” said Jones. “The fact that [the report] wasn’t taken right away is quite disturbing to this court.”

Oklahoma: The Mannford police detective accused of killing his boss during a drunken brawl in a hotel room at a law enforcement conference in Florida in fall 2019 is claiming amnesia, KTUL reports. The tragic scene was discovered by a worker answering a noise complaint at the Hilton in Pensacola Beach, Florida, usnews.com reports.
“[H]e found Mannford, Oklahoma, police Det. Michael Patrick Nealey, 49, sitting on top of police Chief Lucky Miller, 44,” the news site reports. “Miller was later pronounced dead. Nealey is charged with second-degree homicide and is being held in the Escambia County Jail on a $500,000 bond.” But Nealey told the Tulsa’s KTUL station: “I would like to know what happened. I’m telling you I don’t have any memory of any of this sh--. I’m shocked that Lucky’s dead. It’s shocking.” His plea deal had been scheduled for Feb. 12, 2020.

Texas: San Antonio Police Department and federal law enforcement agents killed Randall Goodale in early January 2020 — but home surveillance video given to KSAT reveals a different account than originally reported by police. Goodale was inside his truck in his driveway when multiple officers drove up, the video shows. Police said they were attempting to serve Goodale an arrest warrant for felony possession of a handgun when the suspect “started ramming into occupied police vehicles.” The video, however, shows that Goodale’s vehicle did not move until after police began spraying Goodale’s truck within 15 seconds of arriving, thefreethoughtproject.com reports. “Shortly after officers finished shooting (police have not yet provided the number of shots fired), the truck slowly moves down the driveway and bumps into one of the parked, unmarked police vehicles, which appears to be unoccupied,” KSAT.com reports. “A plume of smoke rises from the truck’s rear tires, potentially a result of Goodale’s feet hitting the brake and accelerator after being shot. The footage does not include audio of the shooting, and KSAT has muted the video to leave out comments of residents who were watching the footage.” The department is investigating.

Washington, D.C.: An invasive body cavity search has triggered a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU-DC) against a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officer. According to reason.com, Mbalaminwe Mwimanzi was watching sports on January 15, 2019, when “officers stormed the apartment with a warrant allowing them to search for drugs and drug paraphernalia. The occupants were ordered to get on the ground.” Mwimanzi was searched three times, patted down and handcuffed. After not finding nothing, he endured the “baseless probes of his genitals and anus by government agents,” alleges the ACLU-filed complaint at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Officer Joshua Wilson “allegedly placed his hands over Mwimanzi’s backside and pressed hard enough to cause severe pain in Mwimanzi’s anus,” reason.com reports. “Wilson also allegedly pressed Mwimanzi’s testicles against his leg, rubbed them, and placed pressure on them. Mwimanzi protested that he was being fondled but Wilson allegedly continued his behavior. Once again, the search turned up zero evidence.” Mwimanzi was taken to the hospital after complaining that Wilson sexually assaulted him. “The ACLU-DC has already filed three previous lawsuits over similar actions,” reason.com reports. 

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