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News in Brief

Arkansas: The DOJ announced on Jan. 24, 2023, that two former police officers in Crawford County were charged with excessive use of force after beating a man at a gas station. The New York Times reported that the two former officers, Zackary King and Levi White, assaulted Randal Worcester, 27, during an arrest on Aug. 21, 2022. The incident occurred around a gas station in Mulberry and was caught on camera by a witness in a video that made the rounds on social media. The video showed three officers manhandling Worcester, holding him down, shoving his head into the pavement, and hitting him. The third officer in the video, Thell Riddle, was placed on administrative leave by the Mulberry PD as an investigation was under way. King and White were fired by the Sheriff’s Department in Oct. 2022. The Sheriff’s Dept. claimed that Worcester had been charged with resisting arrest, terroristic threatening, second-degree battery, and second-degree. If convicted, King and White could face fines of up to $250,000 and sentences of up to 10 years in prison and 3 years of supervised release.

California: It was announced on April 7, 2023, that the former executive director of the San Jose Police Officers’ Association (“SJPOA”) was arrested in connection with a drug smuggling scheme. CBS News reported that the former executive director, Joanne Marian Segovia, was accused of working to import into the U.S. a fentanyl analogue called valeryl fentanyl, from various countries including India and Hungary. She had been under investigation since 2022 and had been interviewed in Feb. and March of 2023, during which she attempted to lie about the matter. Segovia tried to say that her housekeeper was to blame for the incriminating purchases, messages, and packages. Between Oct. 2015 and Jan. 2023, Segovia had thousands of pills shipped to her house in 61 deliveries, using devices both personal and professional to arrange them. She also agreed to participate in distribution efforts inside the country, including using her SJPOA office to disperse pills. She was ousted by the SJPOA after an internal investigation and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Colorado: KDVR in Denver reported that a police officer in Boulder County resigned on March 25, 2023, after the sheriff’s department found that he was romantically entangled with a probation client. The now-former officer, Matt Jones, resigned his office in the midst of an internal affairs investigation looking into his relationship with the client. Jones had initially tried to claim that it was just a friendship, but the department uncovered messages that indicated to investigators that it was something more. His dishonesty during the investigation and his failure to report the nature of his relationship were “grounds for termination” as they represented direct violations of department policy.

Florida: A police officer in Pinellas County was arrested after an incident of domestic battery and burglary on April 8, 2023. WFLA in Tampa reported that the officer, Michael Deerman II, 35, was arrested by the Sheriff’s office, of which he was a member as well. He was taken into custody after forcing his way into his ex-wife’s Seminole home and physically restraining her in a violent way that left bruises and red marks. She had told him not to enter. The incident was still under investigation at the time of the report. Deerman had been with the Sheriff’s office since April 24, 2017.

Iowa: The Chief of Police in Kingsley was arrested on Feb. 15, 2023, after being accused of using his powers to stalk a former girlfriend and those around her. KTIV in Sioux City and WHO 13 in Des Moines reported that the chief, James Dunn, 54, was taken into custody by the state Dep. of Criminal Investigation after it was requested by the Hinton PD to look into Dunn’s conduct. Dunn was accused of stalking a woman he had been in a relationship with until Nov. 2022. He had become aware at some point in Jan. 2023 of a new relationship she was in. He went on to figure out where her new boyfriend lived and compiled information on her, the new boyfriend, and the new boyfriend’s roommate. On Feb. 3, 2023, the victim asked Dunn not to contact her or anyone close to her. But she asked again on Feb. 7, after Dunn taped a letter to her boyfriend’s door and sent another letter to the roommate. The letters were written using city-owned materials, and he used city-property to gather information on the victims. Dunn also got in touch with the mother of the woman. The woman claimed that he was normally armed, even while off duty. A request for an official no-contact order was filed. Dunn was soon handed 14 additional counts in relation to the allegations.

Maryland: Law & Crime reported on April 6, 2023, that a sheriff in Frederick County was federally indicted on charges of using his station to benefit a political supporter. The sheriff, Charles “Chuck” Austin Jenkins, 66, was handed multiple counts, including various gun-related crimes and “conspiracy to interfere with a government function.” Jenkins, and his alleged coconspirator, Robert Justin Krop, 36, were accused of entering into an arrangement from Aug. 2015 to May 2022 to fraudulently purchase machine guns. Jenkins used his status as a sheriff to use the office’s letterhead to make acquisitions of machine guns for Krop to rent out at his firearms business, The Machine Gun Nest. Jenkins claimed that the machine guns were to be used by the sheriff’s office as “samples for law enforcement demonstration purposes.” He claimed this despite renting out the weapons to Krop, who rented them to private citizens, turning him a profit of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The government also alleged that Krop made his political support clear in exchange. They could each face at least 5 years in prison for conspiracy if convicted. Krop was also accused of “unlawful possession of a machine gun” and could face up to 10 years in prison for that crime as well.

Michigan: A Michigan State Police officer in Saginaw was arraigned on March 3, 2023, on charges of on-duty assault and battery, WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids reported. The officer, Paul Arrowood, was accused of attacking a Black man while patrolling a neighborhood. The incident on Sep. 4, 2022, was caught on bodycam footage, which showed Arrowood and another officer approach the man, who was walking in the road and attempt to place him under arrest without giving him a clear explanation as to why. The victim declined to put his hands behind his back, trying to get a straight answer for why he was being taken into custody. The officers could then be seen in the video sending the man to the pavement and repeatedly striking him. Reporting indicated that there was no evidence the victim was ever charged with a crime. Arrowood was eventually placed on unpaid suspension on Sep. 30, 2022. If convicted, Arrowood could face a fine of up to $10,000 and a sentence of up to 5 years in prison.

Missouri: A police officer in Potosi was federally indicted on March 29, 2023, and arrested on April 7, 2023, for charges of committing sex crimes with minors. KTTN in Trenton and KGOZ in Gallatin reported that the officer, Matthew N. Skaggs, 39, was handed charges of coercion and enticement of a minor, sex trafficking, and solicitation of child pornography. He was accused of trying to convince three underaged individuals to perform a “commercial sex act” and tried to convince at least one minor to engage in sexual activity. He is accused of committing these crimes while in uniform or on duty and met the minors through his work as a police officer. He was accused of bribing one to provide sexually explicit content, bribing another to stay quiet about sexual abuse, and sexually abusing the third. The crimes took place between Jan. 1, 2022, and Aug. 10, 2022. If convicted, Skaggs could face a fine of up to $250,000 and a sentence of up to life in prison.

New Jersey: New Jersey 101.5 reported on March 10, 2023, that a police officer in Vernon pleaded guilty to making “sexual advances” on women while he was on duty as an officer. The officer, Emanuel Rivera, 38, was on suspension when he entered the plea for charges of “conspiracy to commit official misconduct.” He was accused of approaching multiple women while working in his official capacity and soliciting them for personal relationships. The charges stemmed from one incident in which he was also accused of attempted sexual assault and making inappropriate sexual remarks. He had at one point also faced counts of criminal sexual contact and attempted sexual assault. He admitted that there was an inappropriate imbalance of power between himself and the victims in the incidents. He worked with the police in Vernon Township starting in July 2013 and was suspended in August 2021 as a result of the indictment. As part of the plea deal, Rivera agreed to forfeit his position as an officer and not work in public employment ever again. Prosecutors will seek concurrent five-year prison sentences for each of the two counts.

New Mexico: KRQE in Albuquerque reported that a state police officer in Las Vegas was placed on administrative leave after being accused of raping a woman on Feb. 11, 2023. The officer, Kevin Keiner, went to pick up the victim, a female friend of 5 years, on the night in question after she had gotten into an argument with her brother. She had been to a bar earlier in the night, and after returning to the house where she got into the argument, she called Keiner to come get her. He did and took her to his home, where he suggested she take a shower to help her calm down. She told him that she was drunk. Keiner told investigators that she had indicated she was interested in sex, though they had never engaged in that before. The victim later claimed that she blacked out and remembered nothing after the shower, only waking up with Keiner on top of her. She also said that she felt taken advantage of. He was subsequently charged and placed under house arrest in Albuquerque with an ankle monitor.

New York: A former police officer in Queens was convicted on a plethora of counts for storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Law & Crime reported that the former NYPD officer, Sarah Carpenter, 53, could be seen on surveillance footage from the attack, roaming around the halls of Congress brandishing a tambourine. At one point, she faced down a line of police officers and shouted, “I’m a fucking animal,” while shaking her tambourine. She also smacked at police officers who tried to hold her back from getting deeper into the Capitol complex. The entire event was a day trip for Carpenter, who left New York in the dark hours of the morning and was back in Queens that night. Her sentencing date was set for July, 14, 2023. It took the jury in the case just a day to reach its conclusion. She was charged with numerous counts of felonies and misdemeanors, including obstruction of an official proceeding, which could earn her up to 2 decades in prison.

Ohio: A Columbus police officer was caught drag racing with a friend on the night of Jan. 3, 2023. WCMH in Columbus reported that the officer, Trier Knieper, 27, was accused of pushing 100 mph in a 65 mph zone with her friend Paige Slyman, 26. Knieper was tested for impairment when they were stopped by Ohio State Highway Patrol, and she was arrested, accused of drag racing while under the influence of an intoxicant. However, Knieper refused to consent to blood tests or a breathalyzer. She was soon handed counts of speeding per se, operating a vehicle impaired, and drag racing or street racing. Slyman pleaded guilty to the same charges on Feb. 8, 2023. Knieper remained on active duty at the time of the March 9, 2023, report.

Puerto Rico: A former officer with the Police of Puerto Rico was convicted on Dec. 20, 2022, for assault of a minor and efforts to cover it up. The DOJ reported that the former officer was Jose Cartagena, 47, and that he was chasing down a “juvenile” on a bicycle on Nov. 15, 2014, with then-fellow officers Shylene Lopez, Carlos Nieves, and Jimmy Davis. They stopped the chase when Nieves shot the victim in the back. The four officers then arrested the minor, who complied by placing his hands behind his back. But even as he did, Cartagena used his gun to hit the youth in the back of the head, then, as they transported the victim in a car, repeatedly struck him in the face. The assaults necessitated hospital treatment for the minor. Cartagena then later tried to officially report that the boy had received all the injuries in the fall from his bicycle. The other three officers had already pleaded guilty to violation of constitutional rights by the time Cartagena was convicted. He could face up to 20 years in prison for his actions.

South Carolina: A police officer in Aiken County was fired and placed under investigation after it was found that he violated agency policy by opening fire on a car as it pulled away from a traffic stop. The Augusta Press reported that the officer, Christopher Williams, was dismissed after shooting at Brittany Norton as she tried to pull away from the traffic stop on March 7, 2023. Williams had pulled Norton over and thought he smelled marijuana coming from her car. He asked for her driver’s license and opened her door for her to get out when she refused to exit. A scuffle ensued during which Norton attempted to drive off with Williams still physically engaged. He then shot into the car, hitting a “rear post.” Norton drove off, eventually surrendering herself as another officer joined the chase. But it was not the first time Norton and Williams had encountered each other. The now-former officer had arrested Norton for marijuana possession and intended distribution before. Pills, including an illicit substance, were later found in Norton’s vehicle. Norton was charged with possession and failure to stop for blue lights. A family member claimed that she was trying to drive to a safer area given her apparent familiarity with Williams.

Texas: A police officer in Sanger was fired and charged after using excessive force during an arrest on Oct. 23, 2022, KDFW in Dallas reported. The now former officer, Cole Thompson, was responding to a “vehicle disturbance” from the Denton County Sheriff’s Office on the night in question when he and other officers stopped a driver on Willow Street. They ordered the driver to move to the back of the car, and they complied willingly. But even as they did, Thompson used his taser and “physical force” on the individual before handcuffing them. He was later accused of submitting a report that had details about the incident that did not align with what the body camera footage showed. He was fired on Dec. 9, 2022, and was soon charged with use of excessive force. He had once been named “Officer of the Year.”

Tennessee: A Tennessee air national guardsman was arrested on April 12, 2023, after being caught applying to be a hitman on RentAHitman.com, The Guardian reported. The man was Josiah Garcia, and he was caught registering for the site and then accepting what he thought was his first assassination mission. He had found the fake website, started in 2005, through an online add. He then filled out an application on Feb. 16, 2023, and sent multiple emails following up on his application, including one in which he included a section for “Why I want this Job.” In that section, he claimed that he enjoyed his work as a soldier and wanted to continue it to support his future child. Eventually, an FBI agent posing as a “field coordinator” for the site got in touch with Garcia and asked him questions about his experience and why he was interested. During the conversation, Garcia indicated willingness to torture targets. Then, they met in person in a park, with the FBI agent providing Garcia a fake target package and a down payment. He was arrested later in the day. If convicted, Garcia could face up to 10 years in prison.

United Kingdom: On April 4, 2023, a former Metropolitan Police officer was convicted on charges of rape, the BBC reported. The former officer, Ireland Murdock, 26, was found guilty of raping a woman in Sep. 2021. He had previously pleaded guilty to improperly accessing a “restricted crime report” that had to do with her after she reported him for the assault. He had no official purpose to access the information, which was held on a law enforcement database. He had worked for the Central North Basic Command but was fired in July 2022 after his guilty plea.

West Virginia: WOWK-TV reported that on Feb. 23, 2023, a State Police officer in Ritchie County was charged with strangulation and domestic battery. The officer, Joseph Comer, was accused of committing acts of violence during child custody exchanges in a parking lot on Dec. 5, 2022, and Dec. 12, 2023. Comer’s attorney claimed after he turned himself over that they would file suit in response for false arrest, retaliation, and defamation. The attorney claimed that the charges of battery and strangulation came the night before Comer was scheduled for a hearing. That hearing was regarding his being improperly demoted in response to his bringing of misconduct allegations within the department to his superiors. The attorney claimed that the charges against Comer were direct retaliation for his alleged efforts to elevate misconduct.

 

 

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