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News in Brief

California: The District Attorney for Los Angeles County, George Gascón, announced that a police officer in San Fernando was charged with theft. CBS News reported that the officer, Jeffrey King, 37, was handed charges on June 6, 2023, of misdemeanor petty theft, felony extortion, and felony second-degree robbery. The charges resulted from an investigation by the LA County Sheriff’s Dep. Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau and were spawned from accusations that King stole from an arrestee on June 21, 2022. King had been responding to a call of potential domestic violence when he confiscated money and cellphones from the male arrestee. He later turned in only the phones to a department supervisor. The amount of money that was stolen was not clear at the time of the June 8 reporting, but it was clear that prosecutors were contending that the victim never got his money back, and the confiscated cash was never turned in as evidence.

Colorado: KDVR in Denver reported that a former police officer in Loveland was fired for “unnecessary use of force.” Body camera footage of the May 20, 2023, offense was released by the Loveland PD in the weeks following the assault carried out by former officer, Russell Maranto, 28, on Angelia Hall, 59. Hall was in police custody at an emergency room during the incident. She had been walking into and out of traffic and speaking in unintelligible ways when police took her into “protective custody.” She can be seen in the released footage cursing at nurses and police officers alike. She then spits at Maranto, who is near her and responds by punching her in the face. The other officer in the room can then be seen grabbing a hold of Hall and separating the two. Hall was charged with third-degree assault against Maranto, and he was fired three days after the incident.

Delaware: The veteran police chief of Bethany Beach, Michael Redmon, was placed on administrative leave after being arrested for a DUI incident in the early hours of the morning on May 30, 2023. Delaware Online reported that Redmon was given a ticket during the incident, released to someone sober, and was charged with DUI. He was placed on administrative leave on May 31, 2023.

Florida: WPLG in Miami reported that a police officer in Miami-Dade County was arrested for assaulting a man with whom she was romantically involved. The officer, Anna Elicia Perez, 34, was at Miller’s Ale House in Palmetto Bay on May 26, 2023, with the victim and his 7-months-pregnant girlfriend, Mila Zuloaga, 35, when the three of them began arguing over the man’s “infidelity.” At some point during the disagreement, the two women began physically assaulting the man in the body and face, giving him a bruised lip in the process. They were both charged with misdemeanor battery, and Perez was placed on administrative leave.

Idaho: On May 18, 2023, a former state police trooper in Kootenai County pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and domestic battery toward his wife. Law & Crime and KREM in Spokane, Washington, reported that the former officer, Daniel Charles Howard, 57, had previously been accused of assaulting and killing his wife, Kendy Wilkins, 48, in 2021. The murder was not Howard’s first instance of accused criminality. In 2014, he was sentenced on counts of malicious injury to property, aggravated assault, and first-degree stalking. Those offenses were related to his actions after finding out Wilkins was cheating on him. His actions included accusing the man, a friend, and neighbor of theirs, of the “ultimate betrayal.” Howard went on to harass the man and caused property damage by pouring syrup in his cars and stealing his mail and guns. The effect was to contribute to the man’s moving from Idaho to Washington in part out of fear of Howard. He was sentenced for those crimes, and on Nov. 14, 2014, he resigned from the state police. Then he was accused of murdering Wilkins on Feb. 2, 2021. After the death, their daughter publicly stated that Howard had claimed to find Wilkins naked in the bathtub, having committed suicide with a gun in their home. Their daughter cast doubt on the suicide story and claimed that Howard was physically and emotionally abusive toward Wilkins.

Indiana: The Huffington Post reported that a man named Chaz Foy was hired as a Marion police officer on June 5, 2023, and was fired on June 7, 2023. Foy’s two-day stint in the Marion PD came to a swift end after a local news organization brought his past racist social media posts to the Marion police chief’s attention. The posts included one in which Foy appeared to label a drawing of a black man as “Martin Looter King” and another in which he seemed to express an appreciation for the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers in 2020. Marion Chief of Police Angela Haley said in statement that the posts were “not in keeping with the standards of the Marion Police Department.”

Illinois: ProPublica reported that a former Chicago police officer lied to judges repeatedly to evade paying 44 driving tickets. The officer, Jeffrey Kriv, was charged on Jan. 31, 2023, with lying to 23 judges, claiming in many of his traffic ticket hearings that various imagined girlfriends had stolen his car. He also presented seemingly real police incident reports backing up the claims of auto theft. Yet he did not tell the court that he was a police officer himself. But his alleged behavior was not new. Just 8 hours after being hired in 1996, Kriv was accused of breaking a man’s car window with a flashlight while directing traffic. He then went on to have a career filled with abusive, bullying, rude, and offensive behavior toward members of the public. In the flurry of accused misconduct, he was even momentarily charged with contempt of court after insulting a judge whose ruling he didn’t like. He was also accused of punching a woman while she was handcuffed. During his time as a cop, he racked up some 92 complaints of misconduct and even the target of complaints from fellow officers. But he constantly evaded official punishment. His cruel and lawless behavior continued for years before the emergence of his many car-thieving girlfriends in Dec. 2013. Between 2015 and 2022, Kriv was the subject of some 51 traffic tickets. He paid just two of them. He was found out after the Chicago Office of Inspector General got a tip about his lies in court. He was eventually barred from giving testimony in Cook County, but he continued on as a police officer until January 2023, the same month he received two more speeding tickets. He’d kept around $3,665 in his pockets as a result of his lies.

Kentucky: WLWT in Cincinnati, Ohio, reported on May 26, 2023, that a police officer in Ripley, Ohio, was charged with homicide after a police chase he was conducting ended with a fatal crash. The officer was reportedly one Caleb Savage. He behaved recklessly and negligently on March 12, 2023, when he chased Ryan Mitchell during an attempted traffic stop. Mitchell was affiliated with a property damage investigation. During the chase, they were headed along KY 3056. Savage passed into Kentucky from the Ohio side of the border. During the chase near Maysville, Mitchell lost control of his vehicle and crashed, resulting in injuries that soon took his life. After the crash, Savage drove back to Ripley, neither checking on Mitchell nor calling in help. Kentucky State Police indicated that he was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, failing to render aid, and reckless homicide.

Maryland: It was announced on May 19, 2023, that a former Rockville police officer was sentenced for the possession and distribution of a vast amount of child pornography. USA Today reported that the former officer, Daniel Morozewicz, 38, who was also a member of the Maryland National Guard, had previously pleaded guilty to possessing more than 12,300 pieces of child pornography, including depictions of the abuse of toddlers, from 2020 – 2021. He both downloaded and distributed the content, including to undercover police officers, before being arrested in March 2021 at a mass vaccine clinic while on duty as a member of the national guard. He also attempted to obstruct justice by trying to get rid of the illicit material on his devices. He was sentenced to a fine of $14,000 and a prison sentence of 3-and-half-years. He will then spend the rest of his life on supervised release.

Michigan: The Michigan Department of the Attorney General reported on May 31, 2023, that the former Chief of Police in Hartford was charged with a single misdemeanor and eight felony counts. The former officer, Tressa Beltran, 57, who retired as chief in early 2023, was charged with counts relating to drug crimes and corruption in office. She was accused by the state of engaging in a scheme to use her position to extort individuals for various “controlled substances” so that she could possess and sell them. She received three varying counts of substance possession, a count of extortion, a count of using a computer to commit a crime, a count of larceny in a building, a count of delivery or possession of a controlled substance, a count of misconduct in office, and a count of embezzlement. The investigation into her conduct was carried out in large part by the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office, and the charges were announced by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Missouri: KSDK in St. Louis reported that a police officer in Jefferson County was charged on June 6, 2023, with DWI in a single-vehicle crash that resulted in the death of his wife. The former officer, Colby McCreary, was involved in a vehicle crash while off duty in the early morning of April 30, 2023, that killed Savannah McCreary. He was driving their Jeep at close to 87 mph when they drifted off the road and struck a rocky embankment, sending the vehicle onto its side and throwing them out. The incident was reportedly responded to by Festus police, and the couple were soon taken to a hospital for treatment. Mrs. McCreary was later pronounced dead at the facility. Responding officers reported no signs of impairment at the scene of the crash. But a hospital toxicology test found that Mr. McCreary had a blood alcohol level of .17%. For his role in the incident, he was handed counts of first-degree involuntary manslaughter and DWI resulting death.

New Jersey: The Chief of Police in Manville was indicted for sexually assaulting his supervisees, the International Business Times reported on June 14, 2023. The officer, Thomas Herbst, 55, was accused in the filing of assaulting on numerous occasions, three women, some of whom worked under him, between 2008 and 2021. He engaged in sexually explicit behavior while on duty, including exposing himself and inappropriate touching. The behavior initially began with coercive sexual advances, using his position to manipulate his victims. His actions escalated into rape. He was also accused of looking for sex from the wife of a subordinate as payment for a promotion. For his crimes, he was handed counts of official misconduct, a pattern of official misconduct, criminal sexual contact, and sexual assault. He was initially arrested in April 2023, and was soon suspended.

New Mexico: KOAT in Albuquerque reported on June 12, 2023, that a state police officer was arrested for sexually assaulting a member of the New Mexico National Guard. The officer, Isaiah Cheromiah, had been placed on leave in May 2023 after accusations of the offense became known. He was accused of assaulting a female member of the state National Guard while she and a number of others were on deployment. Cheromiah, who was then with the Grants PD, had been hanging out with members of the National Guard while they had time off in the evenings of July 2022. It was on one of these nights that the incident occurred. He committed the assault while she was asleep. She had alcohol Cheromiah had given her beforehand. Cheromiah was hired by the state police months later in Nov. 2022 and was charged with sexual assault after investigation initiated in the wake of his placement on administrative leave.

New York: On June 8, 2023, a former NYPD officer was arrested and federally charged with aiding a group of robbers who stole from Asian Americans. WNBC in New York City and the New York Post reported that the former officer, Saul Arismendy De La Cruz, 31, was accused of accepting payments to assist the group in evading arrest. The conspiracy lasted from 2017 to 2022 and saw De La Cruz helping the robbers stay out of prison while they targeted Asian Americans, many business owners, stealing property including jewelry and money, and wielding weapons, including guns. They committed robberies outside of New York City as well. De La Cruz was suspended without pay in Nov. 2022 for an unrelated shooting incident. He then retired in Dec. 2022. De La Cruz and the robbers were charged with racketeering conspiracy and could face as much as two decades in prison.

Pennsylvania: The former Chief of Police in Greensburg was charged in Westmoreland County on May 25, 2023, with stealing a bag full of drugs from the evidence room of his own police department. Trib Live reported that the former chief was Shawn Denning, 42, and he took a backpack full of psilocybin mushrooms and steroids from the evidence chamber. The backpack, which was part of an investigation being conducted by Denning and others, was found to have been incorrectly marked as destroyed. A portion of the evidence against Denning includes accounts from other officers. One of the other officers claimed they saw the steroids on Denning’s desk. He was charged with evidence tempering, conspiracy, and theft. Yet by the time of the charges, Denning had already resigned after federal law enforcement arrested him for being a “go between” in schemes to smuggle drugs across state lines. He was accused of connecting people for drug deals and passing along information between parties, including what kinds of drugs were up for sale.

South Carolina: WHNS in Greenville reported that the Chief of Police in Easley resigned on June 15, 2023, after getting into a fight with a man and calling him a racial slur in front of the man’s family. The now former police chief was Stan Whitten, and he was put on leave before resigning. He’d been accused of cursing, using racial insults, and flashing his badge while confronting a man on June 10, 2023. Why? The man had asked him to move his truck so that his family could exit a boat ramp. There were seven children in the man’s company, and witnesses recounted them looking scared during the incident. Whitten, who admitted to drinking alcohol, claimed that the man had physically assaulted him, but the man denied it, saying that Whitten’s visible abrasions came from his falling over during the incident. Responding police officers asked Whitten why he shouted slurs at the man and his family, to which he responded, “Because I can.”

Tennessee: A former police officer in La Vergne was indicted on June 6, 2023, in connection with a nonfatal shooting. The former officer, Gavin Schoeberl, 24, was charged with aggravated assault and reckless endangerment after opening fire in his own apartment for an unreported reason on April 6, 2023, and accidently hitting a neighbor through his wall. Schoeberl had at one point been put on a week’s unpaid suspension after a sex scandal came to light and rocked the La Vergne PD. In that scandal, officers were accused of a pattern of sexual behavior with one another, including showing each other nude photos and having sex on property of the city and while on duty. One incident involved a hot tub party where nude images were exchanged. [See: CLN; March 2023; p. 50]

Texas: KTRK in Houston reported that a police officer in the city was fired on June 20, 2023, after being charged with shooting his wife in the face. The now former officer, Galib Chowdhury, 31, was accused of shooting his wife, Sadaf Iqbal, in the eye on June 12, 2023. She survived, and has since gone public, accusing him of attempting to cover it up. Iqbal claimed that when she came home that day, she found the door to their apartment open and Chowdhury inside waiting for her. He pinned her against the wall, and she began pleading. He asked, “You think I can’t kill you” and pulled out an AR-15. Investigators found texts from hours before the shooting in which he appears angry, and Iqbal claimed that he had accused her of cheating on him. She claimed that after the shot was fired, Chowdhury seemed apologetic and called the police but told them an intruder had broken in and tried to get her to join in the lie. But before long, Iqbal came out accusing him of shooting her. Iqbal, who was blinded in the eye, claimed to still love Chowdhury but thought it was important to tell the truth and encourage other abused women to speak up. Chowdhury was charged with “aggravated assault with serious bodily harm.”  

 

 

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