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News in Brief

Australia: What would you do if you never saw Top Gun: Maverick and someone was about to spoil the ending? If you have graduated from elementary school, chances are you probably wouldn’t care that much. Constable Dominic Gaynor, who was working the front desk of a police station in Chinatown in Sydney, however, became incredibly agitated in this exact scenario. At the time, probationary constable Morgan Royston who had seen the movie the previous evening, started talking about Top Gun: Maverick with Gaynor. Gaynor asked him not to ruin the movie. Royston answered, “I’ll spoil it for you.” Then Gaynor removed his Glock from its holster and threatened to shoot him. Gaynor was ordered to perform community service after admitting to pointing his gun and threatening to shoot Royston. He then resigned and became a car salesman. Undoubtedly, he has had plenty of time to watch Top Gun: Maverick since. Meanwhile, the episode has traumatized Royston. After the incident, Royston left the New South Wales police force. He said that the incident changed his life forever and made him lose all trust in the state’s police force.

California: On November 7, 2023, NPR radio journalist Josie Huang reached a $700,000 settlement with Los Angeles County. According to AP News, the incident occurred on September 12, 2020. A series of protests had erupted in Los Angeles following the murder of George Floyd. On that particular evening, two sheriff deputies had been shot. Huang was reporting outside the hospital that the deputies were being treated when Los Angeles deputies tossed her to the ground and accused her of interfering with the arrest of a protester. When she got out of jail, Huang stated that she was just “filming an arrest when suddenly deputies shout ‘back up’. Within seconds, I was getting shoved around.” In fact, a cellphone video surfaced of the events and Huang could be heard in the background shouting “I’m a reporter,” as she suffered her injuries.

California: Two married former law enforcement agents with the Tustin police department suffered chronic back pain because of wearing seat belts and vests while on duty. Due to their severe pain they were unable to work and collected more than $180,000 in disability. However, as reported by KTTV out of Los Angeles, despite their “crippling” injuries, Kendal Hurd, 40, and Kyle Hurd, 38, found the strength to perform some arduous physical activities like mountain biking and boating in Mammoth. Evidence also captured the married couple flying across the world, scuba diving, sliding down water slides, paddleboarding, attending Pilates classes, working on home improvement projects, and even more, all while they were collecting disability insurance. The two have been charged with multiple counts of perjury or attempted perjury, as well as insurance fraud. Kendal can be sentenced to a maximum of 11 years in state prison. Kyle is looking at a maximum of nine years and six months. Kyle filed a workers’ compensation claim in December 2018. A few months later, in October of ’19, Kendal filed a nearly identical workers’ compensation claim. Both alleged that their chronic back pain was the result of wearing a duty belt and vest. After the couple had been receiving medical care for months and neither reported any improvement, Tustin authorities began their investigation.

Colorado: On November 6, 2023, news networks began reporting that Yvonne “Missy” Woods was no longer working for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. According to a news release, several “anomalies” were discovered with her work during a review of cases in an internal process. Woods had been working in DNA testing during much of her 29-year career. As a result of the anomalies, all her previous investigations are being reviewed.

England: Derbyshire PC Matthew Longmate, 47, and his colleague PC Daniel Nash were found guilty of misconduct by engaging in a threesome, while on duty, with an inebriated woman who had gotten kicked out of a nightclub. Longmate was found guilty on one count of misconduct on November 8, 2023. Earlier this year, Nash pled guilty to 14 counts of misconduct. Since he had bowel cancer and just six months to live, he was given a suspended sentence. He died a month after sentencing. Judge Chris Hehir granted Longmate bail so he could spend the holidays with his family before the January 15 sentencing.

Florida: On October 30, according to CBS News, former Hialeah policeman Rafael Otano, 28, was sentenced to five and a half years in prison, and then five years of probation, after being found guilty of kidnapping a homeless man. Back in December of 2022, Otano and Lorenzo Orfila got a nuisance call concerning a person harassing individuals at a shopping plaza. Jose Ortega Gutierrez, 51, was taken into custody. However, instead of taking him to jail, the two heartless policemen took him to a dump site where they beat him. An off-duty detective found Gutierrez and called for assistance.

Georgia: Earlier this year, Jackson County Sheriff Janis Mangum announced that she would not run for re-election in 2024. Four candidates announced they were running for this position, two of whom were Captain Dale Dillow, commander of the sheriff’s investigative division and Kevin McCook, head of training and community outreach. According to Fox5 out of Atlanta, it was about that time that weird things started to happen in McCook’s office—items that he put on his desk would mysteriously appear in different locations the next day. He switched offices but the problem persisted. Finally, he decided to set up a camera. On October 10, 2023, about a month later, the culprit was nabbed. Footage from the camera showed Dillow, McCook’s rival in the sheriff’s election, unlocking the door with a master key, taking a picture of his calendar with his phone, opening and closing a desk drawer, and then walking out of the room. Captain Dillow refused to speak with Fox5, but he did text a weird apology to Magnum shortly after getting busted. “I let the devil creep into my mind and let my insecurities take over. I have asked God and my family to forgive me. I ask you to forgive me and beg for mercy.” Dillow told the investigators that he just wanted to find out why McCook spent so much time outside of his office. Magnum fired Dillow as soon as the outside investigation gave her their report. He is still in the race to be sheriff.

Indiana: Within the police station, Gary policeman Terry Peck was highly respected. He was once the president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 61. On November 15, according to the Intelligencer, Peck was sentenced to a year and a day in prison after pleading guilty to violating the civil rights of handcuffed Rasaan Hamilton, a Black motorist. Despite the driver being restrained, and posing no risk at all to Peck, he slammed Hamilton’s face against the police vehicle, breaking his tooth and injuring his body. The Atlanta Black Star reported that Hamilton, who was never given a reason for the traffic stop, is seeking over $2 million in damages. Peck’s fall from grace started years before the incident with Hamilton. In 2008, he got a one-day suspension for conduct unbecoming of a law enforcement agent. And in 2013, he was hit with a 60-day suspension without pay for taking advantage of the department’s sick leave policy.

Louisiana: St. Gabriel Police Chief Kevin “Butchie” Ambeau, 58, who had been the police chief for 19 years, was indicted by a grand jury on November 17, 2023, on money laundering charges, theft, malfeasance in office and filing or maintaining public documents. When items began to disappear from the evidence room, an investigation began. Charges were filed after the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s deputies raided “Butchie’s” home. Computers, phones, and videos were seized from his home. In “Butchie’s” car, authorities found more items that belonged in the evidence room. The falsifying documents charge was based on fake invoices from Roberto’s River Road Restaurant and the Hwy. 30 Truck Stop that “Butchie” submitted to the city of St. Gabriel for reimbursement for Christmas parties and other events. Ambeau will remain in office until a court judge renders a verdict.

Maryland: Top Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby, 42, was indicted in January 2023, and then, on November 9, a federal jury convicted Mosby on two counts of perjury. According to Law & Crime, prosecutors allege that Mosby lied on applications submitted to Nationwide in 2020 in a scheme to withdraw funds from her city retirement account. The application claimed that Mosby needed $90,000, under the CARES Act, to manage “adverse financial consequences” caused by COVID. Two more counts were included in her indictment for filing false mortgage applications linked to Mosby’s two vacation homes, both in Florida. The indictment states that Mosby did not experience any COVID hardships. In fact, quite the opposite—her salary for 2022 was about $248,000—almost $10,000 more than her salary from the previous year. Mosby could be facing up to five years for each of the perjury charges. Falsifying a mortgage application is a much more serious crime and could cost Mosby up to three decades in the big house.

Minnesota: On November 1, 2023, according to KROC out of Rochester, Mathew Adamson, 44, a former Corporal at the Olmsted County Adult Detention Center, had been online chatting with someone he thought to be an underaged girl but was actually an undercover agent from the Rochester Police Department. Adamson asked the individual’s age, and she responded 13. The conversation continued over the course of the next few days, delving into perverse and criminal territory. Eventually, Adamson posed a deal: for sexual gratification Adamson would buy the 13-year-old alcohol. Meanwhile, at about the same time, Adamson encountered what seemed to be another online underaged girl. However, as fate would have it, this 14-year-old girl was another undercover agent, this one with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Adamson asked both fake girls if they would like to meet. The officer posing as the 13-year-old agreed. Law enforcement followed Adamson on November 2 as he left his home and drove to the place that they were supposed to meet. Officers arrested Adamson after he called out the teen’s supposed name. He was arraigned on felony charges the next day.

Missouri:Riverfront Times reported that on August 27, 2023, a storm rattled Stoddard County. As a result, Parker, a 9-year-old dog, wandered off from his home with the Pennington family. Bryan Pennington had rescued the gentle and loving Parker eight years earlier. Parker wound up on the doorstep of a friendly neighbor who called the police. Deputy Roger Seal, of the Stoddard County Sheriff’s Department (SCSD), arrived and took Parker. Allegedly, Seal then drove Otter to the Slough Conservation Area where he allowed Parker to run around. He then shot the dog. A few minutes later, Parker was still clinging to life, so Seal shot him again. He then dumped Parker in a ditch. A lawsuit filed on October 31 justifies the slaying as being “the standard operating practice and procedure” for SCSD. The Penningtons are suing for $5 million.

Nebraska: According to NTV News, on November 14, 2023, the Dundy County Clerk held an election to recall Sheriff Clinton “CJ” Smith from office. Seven hundred and twelve affirmative votes were cast showing that 92 percent of Dundy County wanted to recall Smith from office. It was only in 2022 that Smith was elected. At that time, even though he was not a certified law enforcement officer, his supporters admired his vows to protect the right of gun ownership. Those law enforcement credentials? He was given eight months to complete the training. But because of the numerous red flags and inconsistencies the training center staff encountered in Smith’s record, the Police Standards Advisory Council could not certify him. Such red flags included sexual harassment and separation from previous law enforcement employment. Smith tried to stop the recall in court, telling a judge that it could potentially harm his reputation. Smith has also appeared on constitutional sheriffs’ podcasts pleading his case.

New Mexico: As reported by KOAT-TV in Albuquerque, on April 5, 2023, the Rio Rancho Police Department and Fire Department responded to two calls regarding the same incident. Henry Cardana, who had been the caretaker for 82-year-old Juneanne Fannell for several years, made the first call. Once the authorities arrived, Cardana said she was uncontrollable and that they needed to get her out of the house for her own safety. Fannell told the officers that she was in danger. The old woman alerted the police to the firearms in the home. Instantly, the first responders bonded with Cardana. “You’re a firearms guy?” asked one of them. When Cardana responded affirmatively, the first responder replied, “Nice.” A few moments later, he said, “I like folks that have guns.” As the first responders get ready to leave, Fannell could be heard saying, “What did you say?” Cardana replies, “I said you’re fine until I kill you.” Fannell then shouts to the first responders, “All right? He’s threatened to do that.” At that point Cardana tells the authorities, “Get out of here now. Go away.” Four hours later, Fannell’s neighbor was the one to call 911. When police arrived at her home, she has been shot and killed. Questions are being raised about why the police did not implement the red flag law in this incident.

North Carolina: On November 16, according to WXII-TV out of Winston-Salem, Pilot Mountain authorities held a news conference in which they briefly discussed a scheme implemented by Chief Robbie Jackson and other officers to defraud local nonprofits and organizations. The fraud has allegedly been going on for years and involves off-duty officers providing security at events. After being placed on leave with pay, Chief Jackson resigned. Two of his subordinates were also placed on administrative leave with pay. A former police chief who was working part-time as an officer was terminated. At the press conference, officials explained how the fraud started at the top with Chief Jackson and trickled down to the others.

Oklahoma: Gary Moore, a former long-time Shawnee police officer, was arrested for the possible distribution of drugs in the early morning of November 10, 2023. Moore was immediately fired. KFOR out of Oklahoma City reported that officials of Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office, the Pottawatomie County District Attorney’s Office, the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office, and the Shawnee Police Department have been working together in the investigation.

Tennessee: JohnAllen Biggins, 42, former guard of the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, was sentenced on November 2, 2023, to seventeen years in prison, after which he will have a lifetime of supervised release. WZTV Nashville reported that he pled guilty to traveling to North Carolina to have sex with a child. In June 2022, Biggins started communicating with the mother of minor females, one as young as four. On July 8, 2022, Biggins traveled to North Carolina with the intent of performing sexual acts with a female toddler. An undercover agent had been posing as the mother of the children. The complaint revealed that Biggins also admitted to having abused another child on a previous occasion. The Sullivan County sheriff fired Biggins upon receiving notification of his arrest.

Virginia: On November 4, 2023, a few off-duty United States Park Police employees were hanging out at a residence in Fairfax County. It was past midnight, drinks were being passed around, and everyone was having a nice time. According to Law & Crime, that was when park policeman Alexander Roy, 25, tried to dry fire his gun. Dry firing is when someone pulls the trigger of an unloaded gun. Except the gun Roy fired did have a loaded cartridge, and it took the life of fellow Park Police officer Jesse Brown Hernandez, 22, who was found with multiple gunshots wounds. Roy has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Washington D.C.: On November 11, 2023, around 3am, cops pulled over a car suspected of a DUI. According to WUSA9 out of Washington D.C., by the time the police had made it to the side of her car, the woman was on the phone talking to her boyfriend, who also happened to be a cop. Shortly after that, a D.C. cruiser arrived—overhead lights glaring. Officer John Bewley, not in uniform, approached his girlfriend and tried several times to get her to leave with him. Despite being told to stay away, Bewley kept walking past the officers. Thus, he was arrested as well. As he was being handcuffed, one policeman noticed a “strong odor of alcohol.” Bewley refused to take a sobriety test. Bewley’s law enforcement powers have been suspended until an investigation is complete.

West Virginia: On November 7, 2023, Berkely County Sheriff Nathan Harmon pleaded not guilty to four misdemeanor counts—two counts of obstruction and two counts of providing false information. MetroNews reported that the indictments were related to a months-long investigation into his daughter Carrie’s car crash on the previous January 6. One obstruction indictment was for Harmon obstructing the investigating deputy at the scene. The other obstruction was related to Harmon deleting the GPS tracking data from his daughter’s car on that ill-fated evening. The sheriff was also indicted for lying to investigators in June about a preliminary breath test which was never administered to his daughter. The last count concerned Harmon’s lies about what he did with his daughter’s vehicle’s GPS data. In August, Carrie and two other female defendants were arraigned on assault charges that occurred at the Bad Habits Bar & Grill. Malena Rutherford told police that she was assaulted by the three women after leaving the bar with another woman. The defendants approached the pair and began arguing, which escalated into a fight. When Rutherford was thrown to the ground, Carrie struck her in the face several times. If only she had managed to call daddy before the cops arrived.  

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