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News in Brief

Alabama: The DOJ Civil Rights Division announced on Oct. 21, 2022, that a former sheriff’s deputy in Dallas County was charged with kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman in the middle of the day on Jan. 30, 2020. The Miami Herald reported that the then-active deputy, Joshua Davidson, 32, was on duty during the alleged assault, during which he reportedly pulled a woman over in Selma and used a “dangerous weapon” to kidnap and sexually assault her, later allegedly lying to investigators and tampering with witnesses. Davidson was reportedly fired from the department in early 2020 after the alleged assault, and he found work in the private sector. But allegedly, he fled from Alabama to New Hampshire after apparently telling law enforcement that he was willing to be detained on charges filed in 2020. In Oct. 2022, prosecutors attempted to argue in court that he was a flight risk and should be arrested, but the motion was denied after Davidson’s lawyer elaborated on his responsibility to provide for his children and mother. For his alleged crime, he was charged with counts of witness tampering, deprivation of rights under color of law, and kidnapping.

California: The Los Angeles Times reported on Dec. 21, 2022, that seven LAPD officers were arrested for drunk driving incidents. The arrests were reportedly only the latest in a long line of issues that the department has experienced concerning officers engaging in bad behavior while under the influence of alcohol. The issue has been so widespread that officer intoxication has been a topic of ongoing scrutiny from the Police Commission, which provides oversight for the department. A critical aspect of the problem that the commission has since drawn attention to is the apparent leniency with which the LAPD handles cases of its officers engaging in bad behavior while intoxicated. At one point, it was department policy to seriously punish officers only after multiple infractions, and only recently was official policy modified to “go easy” on officers after their first intoxication infraction, with officers only being fired or suspended after their second infraction. After the recent slew of arrests, it was reported that half of those arrested were allegedly found to have had blood alcohol levels twice the legal limit. Additionally, some officers were found to have been involved in injurious crashes.

California: On Dec. 21, 2022, a former agent with the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) was convicted of beating and raping two women in 2012. The Los Angeles Times reported that the former agent, John J. Olivas, 48, of Riverside, was found to have assaulted and raped a girlfriend twice and to have assaulted and attempted to rape another girlfriend before threatening them both to keep them from reporting the abuse to the police. Olivas, originally indicted in 2018, was reportedly an agent with DHS Investigations, and impressed upon his victims that his position allowed him to suppress any investigation into his conduct carried out by law enforcement. The conviction came after the 2022 trial, which was a follow up to the original trial on the three civil rights violations counts, which resulted in a hung jury. Olivas had also been accused of assault by his ex-wife over two years before DHS hired him as an armed official in 2007. His ex-wife obtained a restraining order against him. He also admitted in 2015 to assaulting his father with a gun in a separate incident, for which he served time in prison.

Colorado: The Gazette reported that a former police officer in Cripple Creek was arrested and charged on Dec. 19, 2022, with sexual misconduct while on duty as a detective. The former officer, Alexander Kenoyer, 36, was handed a count of attempting to influence a public servant and two counts of unlawful sexual conduct while on duty, both felonies. The charges came as the result of an investigation into his alleged misconduct launched on Aug. 20, 2022, four days before he was placed on administrative leave. He was accused by investigators of starting a sexual relationship in Oct. 2021 with the alleged victim of a crime he was investigating. He later resigned from his position with the police department on Oct. 25, 2022.

England: Vice reported that on Jan. 16, 2023, a former London police officer admitted in court to raping twelve different women over the past 20 years. The former officer, David Carrick, 48, known in the department as “bastard Dave,” was suspended from his position with the elite armed unit within the London Metropolitan PD after he was arrested in Oct. 2021. Carrick accepted 49 counts, including but not limited to: five counts of assault by penetration, nine of sexual assault, and 24 counts of rape. The staggering total of offenses makes Carrick one of the most prolific serial rapists in the country’s modern history, and all while he was employed to guard Parliament and various embassies. This despite the fact that between 2001 and 2021, the London MPD was repeatedly warned of his offenses. The Jan. 2023 hearing saw Carrick’s admission to six different counts related to a case from 2003 and the revelation that he had already admitted to the other 43 counts in Dec. 2022. Carrick admitted to degrading and dominating his victims, entrapping them in a “cupboard under his stairs,” abusing them, and even urinating on them. His victims were told that, because of his position, they wouldn’t be believed if they came forward.

Georgia: The Savannah Morning News reported that a former police officer in Savannah was arrested on Jan. 1, 2023, for allegedly shoplifting three watches near Jacksonville, Florida. The former officer, Ernest Ferguson — who was also suspected to have murdered Saudi Arai Lee, 31, in June 2022 — was reportedly apprehended by Clay County Sherriff’s deputies outside a sushi restaurant and subsequently booked into the Clay County Jail on a $25,000 bond. He had been fired from the Savannah PD after being arrested for driving while intoxicated and was later found by an internal affairs investigation to have lied about the details of that particular incident. The investigation into the shooting of Lee was ongoing at the time of the Jan. 4, 2023, report.

Illinois: A Chicago resident was sentenced for carjacking a Joliet man in Feb. 2020, intending to use the stolen car to get to court for a hearing concerning his alleged theft of another car. CWB Chicago reported on Jan. 7, 2022, that Edward Fleming, 22, was found to have worked with two coconspirators to lure the victim into a trap via a dating app, bringing him to the spot where Fleming was waiting with a stolen gun and an accomplice, who punched him in the face. Fleming held the victim at gunpoint, taking his car, keys, and phone. He then drove the carjacked vehicle to the courthouse, attached to a police station, where he was caught. Authorities claimed that the firearm was spotted in the car by police. Fleming pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of armed robbery without a weapon and avoided extra time in prison. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison but is scheduled for release on parole after less than seven years.

Kentucky: WKRN in Nashville, Tennessee, reported that a police officer in Barren County was arrested on Jan. 1, 2023, for allegedly holding a woman against her will. The officer, Joseph Ramey, 29, was arrested in Glasgow after police responded to a domestic disturbance. Ramey had reportedly gotten into an argument with the alleged victim before assaulting, handcuffing, and holding the woman without her consent. After his arrest, the officer was reportedly charged with first-degree unlawful imprisonment and fourth-degree assault.

Louisiana: Law & Crime reported on Jan. 3, 2023, that a police officer in Addis was charged with a count of negligent injury and two counts of negligent homicide after allegedly killing two teenagers in a car crash. The officer, David Cauthron, 42, was accused of engaging in a high-speed car chase on Dec. 31, 2022, during which he reportedly reached speeds of up to 86 mph. The chase resulted in Cauthron colliding with the car of two high-school cheerleaders, Maggie Dunn, 17, and Caroline Gill, 16. Both were killed. The collision allegedly took place in the early afternoon just outside of Baton Rouge in the town of Brusly. The chase was reportedly the result of police attempts to apprehend Tyquel Zanders, 24, after he allegedly stole a vehicle belonging to his father. For his alleged part, Zanders was handed charges relating to the accused theft, fleeing from police, and the deaths of the teens. He was caught after his car stalled. The teens’ car was reportedly hit from the side as it was turning onto Louisiana State Highway 1. Ms. Dunn’s brother, Liam Dunn, 19, was also in the car at the time of the crash. He was severely injured but, at the time of the report, still alive.

Massachusetts: MassLive reported that at a Peace Officer Standards and Training (“POST”) Commission Meeting held on Oct. 13, 2022, statistics were presented indicating that 57 police officers were denied recertification in 2022. POST recertified around 9,000 police officers in 2022, before a scheduled July 1st deadline. POST’s executive director indicated that the officers were denied due to being fired or failure to complete certain parts of the Municipal Police Training Committee’s Bridge Academy. As of the Oct. 13, 2022, report, however, another 37 officers were still pending review and another 603 were only conditionally certified, meaning that they met only some of the requirements — including Greenfield Police Chief Robert Haigh. Haigh was found to have discriminated against a Black officer, and was placed on administrative leave before being reinstated by Greenfield’s mayor last September. No officers had been formally decertified (a separate classification) at the time of the report.

Minnesota: On Dec. 28, 2022, state Att. Gen. Keith Ellison formally charged a former police officer in Minneapolis with assault for allegedly beating a protester in 2020, CBS News reported. The former officer, Justin Stetson, 34, was handed a count of third-degree assault, accused of beating Jaleel Stallings on May 30, 2020, during protests over the murder of George Floyd. The incident allegedly occurred after the imposed curfew, when several officers came across a group of four people gathered in a parking lot, Stallings among them. The police opened fire with rubber bullets, striking Stallings in the chest. Stallings returned fire with live rounds, believing that they were under attack by other civilians. His shots did not make contact with anybody at the scene, and he was acquitted in Sep. 2021 of attempted murder. He realized that he was firing at police officers when they rushed up on him; he threw his gun aside and laid down on the ground. Then, Stetson allegedly kicked and punched the unarmed Stallings, slamming his head into the ground with enough force to fracture his eye bone. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.

Nevada: The Crime Report and the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that a former Las Vegas police officer was sentenced on Jan. 3, 2023, for fatally shooting Nadia Iverson, 20, in May 1997. The former officer, Arthur Sewall Jr., 56, pleaded guilty in Nov. 2022 to charges of voluntary manslaughter with a deadly weapon. As a result, his sentence was capped at just six to 15 years in prison, despite indications on Iverson’s body that she had been sexually assaulted. Sewall claimed that he had paid her for sex. Iverson’s sister, Marie Coker, said that she and her family were disappointed with the short sentence, citing evidence that Sewall was a predator and a murderer. She also expressed dissatisfaction with police handling of rape kits. Iverson’s rape kit had been collected, but her family was reportedly unaware until Sewall was arrested in 2018, 21 years after the murder. [See: CLN, March 2018, p.42.]

New Jersey: It was announced on Jan. 4, 2023, that a police officer in Trenton was charged with official misconduct for allegedly improperly using pepper spray on a man in 2020. The Crime Report and WPVI in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, reported that the officer, Nicholas Piotrowski, was indicted for allegedly pepper spraying Joseph Ahr, 64, on July 6, 2020. The officer was one of several that was responding to a call from Ahr’s son concerning an altercation with his child’s mother. They arrived at Ahr’s house, where they attempted to restrain him. Body camera footage released after the incident showed Ahr struggling on the front steps with multiple officers around him. Piotrowski then appeared to spray him in the face. Once he was handcuffed, Ahr allegedly told officers that he had only one functional lung. Ahr died 18 days after the incident due to respiratory failure. The medical examiner who assessed Ahr’s body claimed that the manner of death was homicide. However, the charge against Piotrowski did not directly address his potential contribution to Ahr’s death. Yet if convicted of the existing charge, the officer could face up to ten years in prison.

New York: The New York Times reported that the former number one FBI counterintelligence agent in New York was charged on Jan. 23, 2023, with secretly working with foreign nationals. Charles F. McGonigal, 54, was in charge of counterintelligence when he was an FBI official but was accused in court filings in both New York and Washington, DC of accepting bribes from Russian and Albanian nationals. McGonigal was accused of being in contact with, and taking bribes from, an individual representing Oleg V. Deripaska, one of Russia’s most prominent oligarchs, and in doing so, violating economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. McGonigal reportedly retired from the FBI in 2018. Deripaska has been the subject of investigations by the FBI and was also indicted last year for his own alleged sanctions violations. McGonigal had once overseen investigations into Deripaska but was accused in the indictments of agreeing to help get him off the sanctions list and investigate one of his rivals in Russia. The indictment filed against McGonigal in DC also accused him of taking $225,000 in cash from a former Albanian intelligence officer while he was with the bureau, and then covering it up.

New York: A major leader of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, a police union in New York City, pleaded guilty on Jan. 19, 2023, to wire fraud, the New York Times reported. Edward D. Mullins admitted in court to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the union and its members. He was found to have spent money extravagantly during his nearly 20-year tenure as president of the union and fraudulently had the organization reimburse him for dinners, jewelry, and other expensive indulgences unrelated to his job. Mullins was known throughout the city for his vulgarity and brash behavior and for excoriating former Mayor Bill de Blasio while he was in office, including making a “declaration of war” against the mayor. He was also known for enthusiastically speaking out in defense of law enforcement in the face of criticism. He was originally charged in Feb. 2022, having already resigned as president in Oct. 2021 after the FBI raided the union’s headquarters and his home.

Texas: Techdirt reported that former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean, 38, was sentenced in late 2022 for the killing of Atatiana Jefferson, 28. The incident occurred on Oct. 12, 2019, when Dean and another officer were responding to a call for a wellness check at the home belonging to Jefferson’s mother. Jefferson was babysitting her nephew inside the home. As he approached the house, Dean decided to slip around the back to investigate — not common procedure for a wellness check. It was just before 2:00 a.m., so when Jefferson heard noises coming out of the dark yard, she pulled out a legally-owned handgun and moved to the window to investigate. Dean opened fire when he saw the gun, striking Jefferson. He provided no assistance to her, and she died in the home. Jefferson’s then-eight-year-old nephew was present for the event. Dean had been convicted of manslaughter earlier in 2022, and he was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison by year’s end. [See: CLN, Dec. 2019, p.42; Oct. 2021, p.50.]

Tennessee: NBC News reported in early Jan. 2023 that the town of La Vergne, Tennessee, saw a slew of firings related to rampant sexual misconduct among more than half a dozen of its 60 police officers. By the time of the report, the accusations had already led to five firings and three suspensions from among the department’s ranks. The allegations of officer-on-officer sexual activity focused on former officer Maegan Hall, who was accused of engaging in sexual behavior with at least four male officers, both on and off duty. The New York Post reported that the married Hall claimed to be in an open union. Fired along with her were officers Seneca Shields, Juan Lugo-Perez, Lewis Powell, and Henry Ty McGowan. Gavin Schoeberl, Larry Holladay, and Patrick Magliocco were suspended as well. The officers were not only accused of having sex with each other (including in the police gym) and exchanging nude images, but also lying about their actions, thus inhibiting the investigation into the matter. The internal report on the investigation launched on Dec. 12, 2022, was issued on Dec. 28. Hall was also accused of lewd behavior toward some of the officers’ wives, and accusations of violence against an HR employee were leveled at McGowan as well.

Virginia: WSLS in Roanoke reported that on Dec. 10, 2022, a former police captain in Radford was arrested, accused of soliciting a minor. The former officer, Christopher Caldwell, 47, offered himself up as he was charged with the use of an electronic device for solicitation of a minor. The Radford City PD reported that they had been made aware of the investigation into his alleged behavior on Sep. 4, 2022, at the request of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, and two days later he was placed on administrative leave. He resigned soon after. Radford City Chief of Police Jeff Dodson condemned the alleged behavior and insisted that it did not reflect the department as a whole. 

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