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News in Brief

News in Brief

Alabama: It was announced by the Madison County Sheriff’s Office on Feb. 20, 2023, that a police officer in Madison was arrested, accused of sexual misconduct. AL.com and WHNT in northern Alabama reported that the officer, Kevin Walter, 35, was arrested on Feb. 8, 2023, and handed charges of sexual misconduct for allegedly raping a woman he was acquainted with while she was intoxicated on Oct. 22, 2022. The charges came as the result of an investigation carried out by the sheriff’s office into an off-duty police officer. The Madison police had handed the investigation over the sheriff’s office given the identity of the suspect. Walter was placed on administrative leave.

California: Two police officers with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office were arrested on Feb. 4, 2023, after getting into a drunken fight at a local bar in Ramona. The Los Angeles Times reported that officers Shawn Kobs and Tara Heath were allegedly involved in a fight between several bar patrons. They were both taken into custody on suspicion of public intoxication. They were subsequently placed on paid administrative assignment. The SDSO is conducting an internal affairs investigation of the incident. They join two other members of the sheriff’s office who have been arrested since the start of 2023. Officers Allen Wereski, 48, and Cory Richey, 39, were arrested on suspicion of smuggling drugs into a jail facility, and burglary and drug possession respectively. Richey was accused of stealing from public drop boxes and removing prescription drugs. They were each suspended without pay.

California: The Los Angeles Times reported that on March 9, 2023, a LAPD officer was found liable by a federal jury for the injuries of a protester in 2020. The officer, Peter Bueno, was found to have violated the civil rights of Deon Jones, 31, who was a protester against police brutality on May 30, 2020. Jones testified that Bueno violated department policy during a protest he was attending by opening fire indiscriminately into a crowd of people and striking him in the face with a “hard-foam projectile.” Jones suffered from facial fractures as a result of the incident. Bueno, who also testified, claimed to have only shot at specific protesters he saw as a threat, while his defense counsel questioned the origin of Jones’ facial injuries. The jury accepted the argument that Jones’ 4th Amendment rights had been violated while declining the argument that his 1st Amendment rights had been violated. The LA Times noted that the LAPD has long been the subject of accusations of police brutality and excessive force, but that its officers are rarely held to account for their accused actions. Altogether, Jones was awarded $375,000 by the jury for his injuries, associated costs and punitive damages against Bueno.

Delaware: Delaware.gov reported a conviction against a former Wilmington police officer. The DOJ’s Division of Civil Rights & Public Trustannouncedthe conviction of former corporal James MacColl on March 3, 2023. A New Castle County jury found him guilty on charges of official misconduct and felony false statement to law enforcement. MacColl had initially been charged in March 2021 in response to his conduct after the shooting of Yahim Harris, a car-jacking suspect, on Feb. 2, 2019. He was found to have not broken the law in the act of shooting Harris but was later found to have switched out the barrel of his gun. That change was uncovered when investigators found differences between the barrel affixed to the weapon and the bullets that had been used against Harris. There was never a question of whether MacColl had been the one to shoot Harris. His dishonesty about changing the twist barrel on his service weapon forced prosecutors to drop then-pending charges against Harris for the carjacking. MacColl had also been investigated for a separate use of force incident in 2015.

District of Columbia: The Grio reported that a federal indictment of a district police officer was unsealed on March 7, 2023, charging him in connection with the killing of a Black man on Aug. 25, 2021. Metropolitan Police Department Sergeant Enis Jevric, 41, was handed charges of federal civil rights violation and murder for the shooting of An’Twan Gilmore, 27. The incident occurred in the early morning hours of the day in question when police responded to a call that a man was asleep behind the wheel of a black BMW while sitting at a light. The responding officer saw a handgun tucked into the waistband of Gilmore and called for backup. A group of officers approached the vehicle and, as they did, the BMW moved forward. The officers ordered him to stop. The BMW stopped but then moved once more. As it did the assembled officers shot at the vehicle nine times. Gilmore died at a local hospital. If convicted, Jervic faces up to life prison on the leveled charges. [See: CLN; Sep. 3, 2021]

Florida: The Boyton Beach Police Department announced on March 10, 2023, that they fired one of their officers over accused sexual misconduct. WPTV in West Palm Beach reported that the former officer was Patrick Monteith, and that he had been accused of engaging in a sexual relationship with a woman he oversaw in his official capacity. The department received a complaint about an “inappropriate relationship” between Monteith and the woman in April 2022. That meeting came when Monteith, who had once been honored for saving lives in 2016, was responding to a wellness check on April 25, 2022. The woman was suffering from an alcohol dependency when the two met. He gave her his phone number and initiated a sexual relationship instead of helping with her dependency. The victim believes the officer took advantage of her condition. Monteith communicated with her frequently, including sending her a sexually explicit video of himself while on duty in his department vehicle. Because Monteith had a key to her apartment and access to firearms the woman felt coerced into accepting his advances given her position and his easy access to her person.

Idaho: KTVB in Boise reported that a former Caldwell police officer was sentenced on February 6, 2023, and officially appealed his sentence on February 16, 2023. The former officer, Joseph Hoadley, 42, was convicted in September 2022 of federal felony charges of harassing a witness, document tampering, and falsifying a record in a federal investigation. He had been found to have doctored reports about an incident in which he struck a man while arresting him on March 30, 2017. Hoadley was then accused of document and witness tampering in relation to an investigation by the FBI in 2021 and 2022 while the bureau was investigating him and another officer. He was found not guilty of violating the civil rights of the arrestee in 2017 but was found guilty of falsifying the record about the incident and the other charges. He was fired from the Caldwell PD on May 3, 2022. Hoadley had been sentenced to three months in federal prison and a year of supervised release but decided to take his case to an appeals court even though his sentence was a fraction of what the prosecution was seeking. [See: CLN; Oct. 2022; p.51]

Illinois: A grand jury in Cook County handed down an indictment against a police officer in Oak Lawn who was accused of physically assaulting a teenager during an arrest, Fox News reported. The indictment against officer Patrick O’Donnell was filed on Feb. 14, 2023, and contained counts of official misconduct and aggravated battery for the assault of Hadi Abuatelah, 17, on July 27, 2022. The incident in question occurred during a traffic stop. Officers had pulled Abuatelah over after allegedly smelling “burnt cannabis” and noticing that the front registration was missing. Dashcam video showed that once the stop was initiated, the young man started to run. The footage showed Abuatelah then being set upon by O’Donnell and others who repeatedly punched the teen. The officers later claimed that Abuatelah had been reaching for a gun in a shoulder bag, and only stopped when they used a taser on him. The young man, who was charged with gun possession, reportedly spent nearly a week in the hospital receiving treatment for swelling in his brain, and fractures on his pelvis, face, and skull.

Kentucky: A former captain of the Somerset PD was indicted on March 8, 2023, on charges of drug crimes, theft, and burglary. WYMT in Hazard reported that the former officer, Mike Correll, who retired in November 2022, was accused of stealing from the department evidence storage. He had worked as a member of law enforcement for two decades before his retirement. Correll is suspected of stealing from the storage on multiple occasions during 2022 and ending in January 2023. He was handed charges of official misconduct, receiving a stolen firearm, abuse of public trust, theft, drug trafficking, and first and third-degree burglary.

Louisiana: KSLA in Shreveport reported that a police officer in that city was arrested and charged with negligent homicide for the shooting of Alonzo Bagley on Feb. 3, 2023. The officer, Alexander Tyler, 23, was accused of shooting and killing Bagley during a brief foot pursuit at the apartment complex where the victim lived. KSLA reported to have uncovered documents about Tyler’s tenure at the department between September 2021 and the time of the incident. He was reportedly the subject of no less than three internal affairs investigations, two for which he received punishment. The first incident involved a chase during which he reached 132 mph and the second involved him driving 63 mph in a 35 zone and slamming into another vehicle. The crash resulted in two of the passengers being hospitalized and Tyler himself being dragged from his vehicle bloody and stunned. He had been written up for the first incident and temporarily suspended without pay for the second in December 2022. He has also been the subject of a use-of-force complaint. Tyler was placed on administrative leave after the death of Bagley and could face up to five years in prison if convicted.

Massachusetts: In a report from WBUR in Boston, published on March 7, 2023, the station revealed that a former campus police officer at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth was protected from being outed as an accused harasser and sexual assaulter. The former campus officer, David Laudon, had been accused of assaulting a student while working at Dartmouth. After the student complained, Dartmouth police opened an investigation, but Laudon resigned in 2010 before it was completed.WBUR’s interest in the case prompted the town of Blackstone, Laudon’s most recent employer, to commission an 81-page report concerning his misconduct. The report revealed that Laudon was accused of sexually assaulting the student and harassing her with calls, even pulling her over when she declined to pick up. An investigator classified one of the assault incidents as rape. The university did not make the accusations public and provided Laudon with a “neutral recommendation” for future applications. In Blackstone he worked as a resource officer at a high school investigating sexual assaults until allegations of his misconduct reached the city manager. Laudon was reassigned to a patrol then resigned in January 2023.

Montana: The Flathead Beacon reported that the former police chief of Whitefish entered into an agreement with the state DOJ on Feb. 2, 2023, to willingly relinquish his law enforcement certification rather than acknowledge guilt for official misconduct allegations related to corruption. The former officer, Bill Dial, 74, never changed his tune on the misconduct accusations, claiming that that they were founded on lies. The state DOJ was able to secure the surrender of his Dial’s certifications as law enforcement officer. The certifications were issued from the Montana Public Safety Officer Standards and Training (“POST”), which filed the misconduct complaint. Dial retired after the allegations of misconduct were leveled against him on Aug. 25, 2021, ending a 20-year stint as the chief of police in the city. Dial had been accused of not taking the proper steps to address corruption and participating in said misconduct. The accusations were varied, but largely centered around his interactions with a now-convicted federal prisoner. In the sprawling POST complaint Dial is accused of working with federal prisoner Matthew A. Marshall to entrap another police officer.

Nebraska: The former Chief of Police in Wahoo was charged in January 2023 with two misdemeanor counts of misconduct. KETV and WOWT in Omaha reported. The former chief, Bruce Ferrell, 62, had once been a specialist on gangs in the Omaha PD before he was the top ranked official at the Wahoo PD. He resigned from that position suddenly in November 2021. One of the counts handed down reportedly accused Ferrell of prohibited “disseminating criminal history information.” The other count reportedly accused him of intentionally “violating a rule or regulation.” Several sources allege Ferrell was caught on video cam footage having sex with a Wahoo resident and attempted to delete the incriminating evidence. Ferrell was set to appear in Saunders County court for a pre-trial hearing on March 8.

New York: CBS News reported on Feb. 3, 2023, that a state trooper was charged with writing illegitimate traffic tickets, including one to a deceased man. The officer, Edward Longo, was handed felony counts for handing out at least 24 “false” traffic tickets as he patrolled highways in Westchester. Longo targeted people for invalid reasons to boost his ticket productivity numbers because he was concerned about receiving a negative performance evaluation. He was accused of writing tickets with incorrect identification information and fabricating accusations of lane-change signal failures, seatbelt infractions, speeding, among other things. One of the targets of the scheme was Kurt Perez, 50, a resident of New Rochelle, who had died hours before Longo issued him a ticket in March 2022. Perez’s wife later called it “a disgrace and a dishonor to his badge.”

Ohio: No fewer than 16 police officers in the East Cleveland PD have been charged with various misconduct since mid-2022, CBS News reported. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley spoke on the indictments of the 11 most recently charged officers, former and active, on March 8, 2023. The charges against those officers, including a former police chief, included counts of evidence tampering, obstruction of justice, interfering with civil rights, dereliction of duty, and felonious assault. Prosecutors also recently revealed video allegedly showing officers physically abusing people, striking them, and using stun devices on them after they had surrendered with their hands up. The incidents referenced in the latest round of indictments ranged from February 2020 to July 2022. The East Cleveland PD was reported to have 26 members, and four current officers are facing charges at the time of the report in early March 2023. Five other officers charged before were allegedly involved in incidents as far back as June 2018. Former chief Scott Gardner, accused of financial crimes, stands out among those charged.

Texas: KLTV in Tyler reported that the chief of police in Payne Springs and another police officer in the department were arrested on March 9, 2023, and charged with delivery of a controlled substance and money laundering. Chief April Meadows and Officer Jonathan Hutchinson were accused of purchasing illicit substances through a confidential informant. The informant had originally been asked by Hutchinson to make controlled purchases of drugs in 2021. But later in 2022, Meadows and Hutchinson asked the informant to begin purchasing methamphetamine on their behalf. The informant later claimed to have made between 20 and 30 controlled buys for the pair. Meadows and Hutchinson paid for the informant’s services with CashApp, cash, and marijuana. They also allegedly told the informant several times that the controlled substance he was bringing them wasn’t strong enough. The informant grew suspicious of the pair’s activities and began working with the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office. Bond was set at $1.5 million each.

Virginia: A police officer in Virginia Beach was charged with misdemeanor assault, WTKR in Norfolk, reported. The officer, Jemarr Mosley Jr., 24, was accused of using an unnecessary amount of force in an incident on Feb. 9, 2023. The single charge came as the result of an investigation carried out into Mosley’s actions. He was suspended after the incident and placed on administrative assignment. Mosley had been with the Virginia Beach PD since 2021. In responding to the news of the charging, Virginia Beach Police Chief Paul W. Neudigate praised the move and lamented the accused behavior, stressing that transparency and trust-building with the community were important.

Wisconsin: The Wisconsin Rapids Tribune reported that on Feb. 17, 2023, a former police officer in Rome was charged with working as a teacher while on duty as a police officer. The former officer, Katrina M. Czys, 39, was accused of holding two jobs, one as a teacher and one as an officer, and working both simultaneously on May 16 and 17, 2022. Czys did this despite being informed by Rome Police Chief Jason Lauby that such arrangements were prohibited. Czys also submitted irregular mileage and gas charges to the town of Rome. If Czys is convicted on the charges she could face up to more than 8 years in prison.

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