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News in Brief

Arizona: A police officer in Scottsdale was arrested on Nov. 4, 2022, after allegedly causing a car crash while intoxicated. AZFamily reported that officer Michael Lanouar, a police detective, was taken into custody on suspicion that he had been driving a city-leased car while under the influence. He had allegedly been driving near Pima and Indian School Road around 10:00 p.m. when he crashed into another occupied car. The two unidentified individuals in the car that Lanouar allegedly hit were taken to a hospital and an internal investigation was opened up into the incident by the Scottsdale PD. A criminal investigation was also opened and Lanouar was booked, but by Nov. 7, 2022, charges still had not been filed.

Australia: ABC Gippsland reported that a former police officer in Gippsland appeared in Magistrates Court on Nov. 10, 2022, after being accused of misconduct with women while he was a law enforcement officer. The former officer, Simon Gloster, was set to stand trial for charges of abuse of power and acting inappropriately in connection with accusations from six women in 2019. Gloster was accused by the alleged victims (women who were seeking help from law enforcement at the time), of misconduct including requesting “intimate” photos from them, refusing to delete photos, unduly threatening them with arrest, and asking to see their tattoos and scars. The court was told by the prosecution that Gloster even took cases from other officers. In all, Gloster was set to face six counts of “misconduct without a reasonable excuse” relating to the alleged behavior.

California: A former police officer in Stockton was arrested on Nov. 9, 2022, by the U.S. Marshals. Former officer Nicholas Bloed was taken to the San Joaquin County Jail, reported The Record, on suspicion of, among other crimes, rape. Bloed, who had once worked with the U.S. Marshals, was taken into custody on 15 charges, filed the next day, of unauthorized use of a computer, taking bribes, sodomy, assault, and rape in connection with accusations made by women starting in early 2022. Bloed, once named employee of the month in 2014, resigned on Oct. 13, 2022, before the department could fire him. The break came after a period of suspension while an investigation was carried out. The three women who came forward in 2022 alleged that Bloed had committed acts of sexual misconduct while on duty as an officer. One of the women alleged that the abuse she endured took place over the course of years. Bloed’s lawyer claims that the interactions were consensual. However, the lawyer representing the women claimed that the actions were not, and that sexually graphic texts had been uncovered between Bloed and one of the women.

Colorado: In the fall of 2022, two police officers from Fort Lupton and Platteville were charged with crimes including attempted manslaughter and reckless endangerment after an incident on the railroad tracks, according to Slate Report. The incident allegedly occurred on Sep. 16, 2022, nearly two months before the charges were handed down, when a detained woman, Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, 20, was handcuffed to the inside of a patrol vehicle as it was struck by a train. The SUV was parked on a train crossing when the collision came, and Rios-Gonzalez allegedly sustained injuries to her limbs, head, and ribs, and even lost teeth. She had been detained by Pablo Vazquez of the Platteville PD and Jordan Steinke of the Fort Lupton PD when they were responding to a report of potentially armed road rage. Vazquez and Steinke were later charged with various crimes for leaving Rios-Gonzalez in the path of harm. While Rios-Gonzalez was later charged with felony menacing, Vazquez received counts of obstructing a highway or passageway, careless driving, prohibited parking, and reckless endangerment. Steinke was also charged with reckless endangerment, second-degree assault, and attempt to commit manslaughter. [See: CLN, Sep. 26, 2022, online.]

Florida: WSVN in Miami reported that a police officer in Opa-Locka was arrested on Nov. 7, 2022, after being accused of using excessive force on a young man more than two years ago. The officer, Sergio Miguel Perez, 35, had been under investigation since June 2022 for allegedly assaulting and dragging Jafet Castro, 19, out of his house in Sep. 2020. The incident was reportedly caught on body camera footage, and investigators claimed that Perez hit Castro over the head repeatedly. The incident occurred when officers, including Perez, arrived at the house where Castro’s family had reportedly tied him up because he had been acting “irrationally.” Yet body camera footage allegedly showed Perez punching him and dragging him out of the home. Castro was later institutionalized. Perez’s record was not clean before the alleged Castro incident — he was rehired to the department after being fired for participating in a wrong-way police chase on the highway in April 2013 that resulted in the deaths of four tourists. For the alleged Castro incident, he was charged with battery.

Indiana: NWI Times reported that a former police officer in Gary was arrested and charged with murder and assisting a criminal on Oct. 31, 2022. The former officer, David Finley, 42, was taken into custody in Lafayette after allegedly helping his co-defendant murder a man in an alley on Sep. 22, 2022. Finley had worked with the Gary PD from July 2009 until Sep. 2012, when he was indicted on federal gun and drug charges. He later pleaded guilty to those charges and served time in prison. Finley was suspected of driving Jarvis Sanders, 21, on the night he allegedly shot Terry L. Davis, 25, in the head and neck, killing him. Sanders was arrested a week after the incident, and well before Finley. It took time for investigators to identify Finley as a suspect, and they were able to do so only after he allegedly called investigators himself, anonymously attempting to distance himself from Sanders. A detective was reportedly able to recognize Finley’s voice. For his alleged role in the Sep. 2022 murder, Finley was charged with both a felony count and a misdemeanor count of assisting a criminal, and a count of murder.

Iowa: A former police officer in Lake City pleaded guilty in the fall of 2022 to record tampering, KCCI in Des Moines and The Messenger reported. The former officer, Aaron Alspach, arrested on Sep. 21, 2022, was also charged with one count of felony misconduct in office but pleaded guilty only to the less serious charge of tampering. He wasn’t alone, however. Two other men, Lake City administrator, Eric Wood, 57, and former police officer, Anthony Snyder, 45, were arrested as well. Each were charged with perjury, obstructing prosecution or preventing apprehension, and felonious misconduct in office, some of which was reportedly in connection with providing the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy with false documents. They too had been arrested on Sep. 21, 2022. Wood and Snyder both submitted not guilty pleas on Oct. 3, 2022.

Kansas: On Nov. 14, 2022, an indictment was unsealed, accusing a former Kansas City police officer of conspiring to enable an underage sex-trafficking operation. CNN reported that the former detective, Roger Golubski, was charged with using his position as an officer to keep law enforcement away from the operation, which was run by a crack dealer in the 1990s. Golubski was allegedly paid for his help and allowed to take victimized underage girls to commit sexual abuse himself. The operation, which allegedly involved exploiting girls as young as 13, was reportedly used to serve the dealer, Cecil Brooks, and two other men, Richard “Bone” Robinson, and LeMark Roberson. Golubski, who pleaded guilty to all charges, was also charged in Sep. 2022 with sexually assaulting a woman and a teenage girl while he was an officer. He retired from the department in 2010. In the sex trafficking case, one of the women allegedly victimized said she was only 16-years-old when Golubski raped her. She and the other girls were reportedly locked in an apartment by the men who physically and sexually abused them. [See: CLN, Sep. 2018, p.19; CLN, Aug. 20, 2022, online.]

New York: On Nov. 4, 2022, a former NYPD police officer was convicted of murdering his 8-year-old son on Jan. 17, 2020. New York Daily News reported that the former officer, Michael Valva, 43, was found to have forced his child, Thomas Valva, who was on the autism spectrum, to sleep in an unheated garage on the night in question as temperatures dropped well below freezing. He then hosed the boy down with freezing water. Thomas soon died from hypothermia as his father looked on and did nothing. He later lied to investigators about the death. Michael Valva was convicted on counts of child endangerment and second-degree murder. The jury reached its conclusion after just hours behind closed doors. Testimony took six weeks. Valva was found to have subjected Thomas and his older brother, also on the autism spectrum, to years of extensive abuse that Valva’s ex-fiancé, Angela Pollina, 45, also participated in. Pollina, who was also facing child endangerment charges as of Nov. 5, 2022, allegedly told Valva he was being too lenient with the boys as he starved and beat them. Valva’s sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 8 and he is set to face life in prison. [See: CLN, Aug. 2021, p.50; CLN, Sep. 2022, p.50.]

New York: On Nov. 14, 2022, a police officer in Greece, outside Rochester, shot and killed a woman, injured another, and then shot herself, the New York Post reported. The officer, Tiffani Gatson, 29, was reportedly in a fight with the victim, Angely Solis, when the shooting took place. The three women were found outside a house in the evening by police responding to a call about domestic violence. Solis died at the scene, but Gatson died sometime later in the hospital. She was reportedly off-duty at the time of the incident and a gun found at the scene was reportedly not her department-issued firearm. The third woman, in her 30s, was likely to recover from her wounds. The two victims were reportedly related, but at the time of the Nov. 15, 2022, report, it was not yet clear how Gatson knew them.

North Carolina: WBTV in Charlotte reported that a police officer in Albemarle was arrested on Nov. 8, 2022, on suspicion of committing sex offenses with a child. The officer, Logan Andrew Johnson, was charged with felony use of a computer or electronic device to solicit a child, felony indecent liberties with a child, and felony statutory sex offense with a child under 15. With his arrest came the launch of an NC State Bureau of Investigation inquiry into his alleged misconduct. Johnson, who has been with the Albemarle PD since Aug. 9, 2021, was reportedly placed on “unpaid administrative suspension” while the investigation was carried out.

Maryland: Fox News reported that a police officer in Wicomico County was fired in the fall of 2022 and handed a slew of charges relating to his alleged rape of a detainee in a Kohl’s parking lot. The officer, Steven Victor Abreu, 30, was charged with misconduct in office, false imprisonment, sexual contact with a person in custody, fourth-degree sexual offense, second-degree assault, and second-degree rape. The charges came after an investigation carried out internally by the county Sheriff’s Office into Abreu’s alleged assault of a woman identified as “JA,” 27, in Oct. 2022. Sheriff Mike Lewis claimed after the arrest that as many as seven more alleged victims of Abreu’s had come forward, accusing him of inappropriate conduct and having sexual intercourse with an intoxicated woman in a sheriff’s office vehicle. Lewis also indicated that more charges were possible.

Missouri: On Oct. 20, 2022, the chief of police in Louisiana, Missouri, was charged with felony drug charges in connection with the death of his girlfriend’s brother. Police1 reported that William Jones, 50, was arrested the day before he was charged with evidence tampering, possession of a controlled substance, and second-degree drug trafficking. The legal trouble started after Gabriel Thone, 24, was found dead in his apartment on Oct. 18, 2022. Thone was the brother of Alexis Thone, 25, Jones’ girlfriend, who was also charged with possession of a controlled substance and second-degree drug trafficking. There was also a third Thone sibling, 21, found suffering from “respiratory distress” when police arrived at the scene, but he was successfully revived using naloxone. Police had been summoned to the apartment by a call from an off-duty police officer reporting the death. Jones was accused of destroying and hiding evidence before police arrived. Investigators claimed to find what they suspected was fentanyl at the scene.

Oklahoma: An undersheriff in Le Flore County pleaded guilty to unlawful use of force on an arrestee, the DOJ announced on Nov. 8, 2022. The officer was Kendall Morgan, 44, and he admitted in court to willfully and repeatedly assaulting a victim identified as D.P. while they were handcuffed and not resisting. The assault took place on Jan. 25, 2017, while Morgan was on duty and constituted a criminal civil rights violation as the officer was depriving D.P. of their right to be free of unjustified use of force.

Oregon: Central Oregon Daily reported on Oct. 24, 2022, that a former sheriff’s deputy in Deschutes County was charged with misconduct and “Unlawful Dissemination of an Intimate Image.” The officer, Ron Brown, 58, was accused of sending sexual images of a woman to himself from the phone of the woman’s deceased boyfriend. The misconduct allegedly happened at the scene of the boyfriend’s death on Sep. 28, 2021, when Brown was called to investigate. While Brown was talking with the woman, she allegedly asked the officer to delete the sexual content (including photos and videos of her), from the phone so that her boyfriend’s family wouldn’t see them. He allegedly sent them to himself instead. He also racked up two charges for acts on Dec. 30, 2021, when he misrepresented himself as being on official police business to a motel’s management to gain access to a room on behalf of the same woman, and later watched porn in front of her.

Pennsylvania: CBS News reported that on Oct. 25, 2022, a former Philadelphia police officer was set to be formally charged with first-degree murder after allegedly shooting and killing a young boy in March 2022. The former officer, Edsaul Mendoza, 26, was accused of murdering Thomas Siderio, 12, as the boy was running away from police. The murder charges were first announced by District Attorney Larry Krasner at the beginning of Oct. 2022, reported WHYY in Wilmington, Delaware. Krasner, who has prosecuted three Philadelphia police officers for murder since first being elected five years ago, hailed the charging as the right course of action in this case. Mendoza was reportedly working undercover at the time of the shooting, and Krasner claimed that Mendoza knew that Siderio was not armed.

Tennessee: The Commercial Appeal reported that U.S. Attorney Kevin G. Ritz announced on Oct. 25, 2022, that a former police officer in Memphis was sentenced to 12 years in prison and three years of supervised release for civil rights violations. The officer, Sam Blue, 63, had pleaded guilty in Jan. 2020 to conspiracy to commit robbery affecting interstate commerce, violence and intimidation, and conspiracy to violate civil rights using force. Blue admitted to supplying groups of bandits with inside law enforcement information to aid in their tracking of and stealing from drug dealers from 2014 to 2018. One of the groups reportedly used equipment labelled “police” and a blue light to pull over at least one man, Eric Cain. They also put a hood over his head, drove him to a residence, and tortured him by beating him and burning his neck and head. They were attempting to get information out of him about where he kept his money and drugs. Blue claimed not to have known that they would torture Cain, though he did provide the police code for Cain’s apartment complex.

Texas: A former Brownsville police officer was sentenced to 96 months in prison and three months of supervised release in the fall of 2022 for drug trafficking. The DOJ reported that the officer, Jose Salinas, 53, had pleaded guilty on Aug. 2, 2022, to trafficking a kilogram of methamphetamine. The court found that Salinas had abused his power as a law enforcement officer to violate the law on multiple occasions. He was charged specifically for an incident on March 19, 2020, when he met with individuals he thought were drug traffickers and agreed to help move methamphetamine and cocaine in exchange for $2,500 in cash. He supplied a stash house and parked a marked department vehicle outside to protect it. Salinas was also ordered by the presiding judge in the case to pay $3,000 as a fine. 

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