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News in Brief

Alabama: On January 4, 2024, a grand jury indicted Mac Bailey Marquette, 23, in the murder of Stephen Perkins, 39. Marquette, a former policeman, shot Perkins after he allegedly “brandished a handgun” towards officers of the Decatur Police Department (DPD) during a mistaken truck repo incident. According to Advance Local in Alabama, on the night of September 29, 2023, Perkins had a gun and threatened a tow truck driver who was trying to wrongfully repossess his vehicle. The tow truck driver left but returned later with police, who shot and killed Perkins, a husband, father, and fitness buff well-liked by his neighbors. The DPD gave inaccurate facts in its first reporting of the incident, painting Perkins as armed and dangerous and not following police orders. Marquette was one of three policemen fired because of the shooting but the only officer to be charged. Perkins’ family has sued the city, the officer involved in his death, the tow truck company, and the vehicle finance company. The federal lawsuit alleges excessive force, wrongful death, civil rights violations, and unfair debt collection practices.

California: On January 5, 2024, Ruby Celly Uribe, 34, was arrested by the FBI and booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail on a charge of possession of an unregistered short-barreled rifle. Uribe was an army reservist assigned to the California National Guard’s headquarters and to a counter-drug trafficking task force. As reported by The Sacramento Bee, FBI Special Agent Deanna Williams described some of Uribe’s activities in the criminal complaint such as providing military ammunition to a close associate and informing this associate of any upcoming drug raids. Williams wrote in the affidavit, “This investigation revealed that Uribe leaked operational intelligence and law enforcement plans to people involved in drug trafficking organizations, that she misappropriated military property and funds for personal use, and that she illegally possessed and trafficked firearms.” As the judge allowed her to be released on an unsecured $25,000 bond, Uribe wiped her eyes with a tissue.

Colorado: Deputy David Steckman is a firearms instructor with the Denver Sheriff’s Department (DSD). According to KDVR, he has been suspended for 14 days after he accidentally shot his rifle inside his home. On August 21, 2023, that bullet tore through his bedroom wall and into his neighbor’s apartment. A woman and her daughter were at home when the bullet flew through their kitchen. Thankfully, no one was hit. Steckman, a 27-year veteran with the DSD, admitted that he failed to check the rifle chamber before pulling the trigger. His suspension was scheduled to begin on January 30, 2024.

Colorado: According to The Intercept, Humzah Mashkoor was arrested at the Denver International Airport on December 18, 2023, and charged in a plot to join ISIS. Two years prior, Mashkoor was contacted online by four people claiming to be members of ISIS but who were in reality undercover FBI agents. The first red flag should have been that a sixteen-year-old child with autism and a developmental disability was trying to join ISIS. Instead of notifying his parents, the FBI posing as ISIS, befriended him and groomed him. A few weeks after his 18th birthday a trap was set, and Mashkoor was nabbed at the airport and charged as an adult. The FBI agents were aware of Mashkoor’s disabilities as they groomed and encouraged him. In his online communications Mashkoor wrote about how bored he was, his family problems, his aspirations to be wed and how his mental health was difficult to maintain. Sahar Aziz, a national security expert and law professor at Rutgers University told The Intercept that “This case appears consistent with a common fact pattern seen in tens, if not hundreds, of terrorism-related cases in which the FBI has effectively manufactured terrorist prosecutions.”

Colorado: On January 18, 2024, Mike Wiggins and Erin McIntyre posted on X: “If you hoped to silence or intimidate us you failed miserably. We’ll find out who did this. And another press run is imminent.” They were referring to practically every copy of their newspaper, the Ouray County Plaindealer, being stolen from newspaper racks that same day. On the front page of that specific issue was a story about charges being filed over numerous rapes occurring at a teenage party that took place at the police chief’s house while he was asleep. Three men—ages 17, 18 and 19—are accused of raping a 17-year-old at the party and have been charged with felony sexual assault. One of the suspects is the stepson of the Ridgway police chief. The owner of a local restaurant, Paul Choate, 41, admitted to stealing the newspapers because he was trying to protect the victim from the detailed coverage of the assault which was published. The City of Ouray put Police Chief Jeff Wood on paid administrative leave on January 29, 2024, pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings of the alleged rape involving Wood’s stepson at the home.

Florida: On July 28, 2023, according to WSVN in Miami, Kevin and Sabrina Enciso needed to see an ER doctor. They were in a car accident just the day before, and their doctor said Sabrina, who was pregnant, needed to get to the hospital. But when they pulled up to a stop sign on their way to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Doral, Florida, they were blocked by a police car. Two Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) officers were stopped and having a conversation. As video footage shows, Kevin waited twenty seconds and finally honked his horn, compelling one of the policemen to approach them. Sabrina, an employee of the hospital, filmed the incident on her cellphone. When asked to step out of his car, Kevin quickly explained their situation and told MDPD Officer Daniels that they need to make sure Sabrina had not miscarried as a result of the accident. After some conversation, Daniels told the couple, “You’re okay now …. She’s alert and she’s breathing.” He then ordered her to sit on the curb. Although she was just steps from the hospital, Daniels called Fire and Rescue. As soon as the first responders took Sabrina’s blood pressure and saw that it was “skyrocketing,” she was finally allowed entrance into the ER. The couple filed a civil rights complaint and MDPD is conducting an internal investigation.

Florida: New Year’s Eves can get very rowdy, especially when in line to use the bathroom at a bar. According to a report by WPEC in West Palm Beach, William David Saunders, an off-duty Stuart policeman, wound up slugging three people, including a woman, after he tried cutting into the line. When the Jupiter Police Department arrived, a witness, who would be pressing charges against Saunders, said that before he threw the first punch Saunders threatened, “I’m going to f*** you up.” Saunders, who was clearly intoxicated, was taken into custody at 11:41 p.m. and charged with misdemeanor battery. Saunders is now on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation and the criminal proceedings related to his arrest.

Kentucky: WAVE in Louisville revealed on January 22, 2024, that Indiana state police had issued several new search warrants in the ongoing public corruption investigation of former Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel. Noel is alleged to have made charges of more than $730,000 on his non-profit’s credit card for inappropriate luxuries like cigars, clothes and jewelry. As the investigation deepened, more of Noel’s questionable purchases came to light, including that he and his wife Misty might be using his non-profit to pay the utilities of his three homes. Noel’s large automobile collection also fell under further scrutiny. Turns out that 133 of these vehicles are registered to the Utica Township Volunteer Fire Department (UTVFD) and New Chapel EMS, several of which are not consistent with a not-for-profit fire department and EMS business. Noel had signed a shady agreement with the UTVFD to use his pole barn in exchange for utility payments and improvements. According to American Express, many of Noel’s charges were misused, as they were intended for personal use and not business. Another thorn in Noel’s side is the search warrant that reveals exactly how close he and Brittney Ferree, the former Clark County Council member, were. The two had a child together, and Noel paid her the annual $25,000 child support from the New Chapel EMS funds. Noel happened to sell her a BMW which belonged to New Chapel EMS. Except, investigators could not find any transfer of money. Ferree told them that she paid cash, and had gotten the money from an insurance payout, although there was no evidence that this “money” ever made it into New Chapel EMS bank accounts. Noel was charged in November 2023 with 15 felonies, including counts of corrupt business practices, ghost employment, official misconduct, theft and tax evasion. He pleaded not guilty.

Maryland: Maryland Matters, a WTOP News content partner, reported that on January 23, 2024, a recently released state audit revealed how the Baltimore Police Department allowed excessive overtime payments to accrue. During the 2022 fiscal year, 100 police officers logged more than 1,000 hours of overtime, to the tune of almost $8 million of taxpayer money. In addition, seven officers each pocketed more than $100,000 in overtime during the same year. Legislative Auditor Gregory A. Hook wrote, “We noted numerous deficiencies relating to the use, payment, and monitoring of overtime. Furthermore, these conditions occurred for extended periods without being identified and resolved and contributed to excessive overtime being paid to certain officers.” Luckily, for those handsomely awarded men and women in blue, the audit does not name individuals. It just says that 100 of them logged more than 1,000 hours and worked in various units. Highest amount of overtime went to one lucky sergeant on a SWAT unit who got 37.3 hours of overtime per week at $151,373. The audit noted that such extravagant overtime payments were “directly attributable to position shortages and vacancies.” Despite this, the audit concluded that “supervisory personnel at all levels did not exercise the necessary oversight and disciplinary action to monitor overtime and ensure compliance with department’s payroll processes and overtime policy.”

Missouri: The International Business Times reported that on January 19, 2024, the Town and County Police Department issued a statement that no crimes against children occurred while veteran now-retired sergeant Jordan Fowle was on duty. Town and Country is a small city in west St. Louis County and is part of the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area. Jefferson County prosecutors charged Fowle, 57, with two counts of first-degree child molestation, five counts of second-degree child molestation, second-degree sodomy and second-degree sexual abuse. According to court documents, Fowle abused two female minors over a stretch of 11 years, from 2012 to 2023. The abuse took place at his home. Fowle began abusing one of the girls in 2012, when she was 13. Fowle would begin by strip searching her, and then commit sexual abuse. The other girl was 14 when he started to abuse her. Fowle used his status as a well-known and veteran policeman to provoke fear in the girls and force them to submit to his abuse. Court documents also say the abuse caused emotional distress to both victims. One of them had several long-term stays at mental health facilities after the abuse. Both reported that Fowle’s abuse led them to self-harm.

Missouri: The Mineral Area Major Case Squad found the body of a missing woman on January 17, 2024, on a farm in Potosi. Donna Eye, 44, had been missing for over a week since a Washington County sheriff’s deputy received a call for service and picked Eye up from the hospital on January 8. According to KTVI in St. Louis, her brother said that she had mental health issues and a medical condition that limited her ability to walk. Ronald Eye, the brother, reported that a female deputy allegedly dropped Donna off around 11 p.m., in the middle of the Mark Twain National Forest, thinking it was his driveway. The driveway was one mile from where Eye told the deputy to let her out. The last time Donna Eye would be seen alive was when she stepped out of that police vehicle.

Missouri: In July 2020, as reported by KMOV in St. Louis, 911 received a call claiming that Grace Holland, 35, had shot herself. The man calling 911 was Grace’s fiancé and he told dispatchers that he was the captain of the fire district. Holland died from a single bullet to the head, and Creve Coeur police ruled it a suicide. However, Holland’s family questioned how the investigation transpired and named Ronald Daus in a wrongful death lawsuit. Fast forward to January 13, 2024—Dr. Sarah Kathleen Sweeney, 39, was found dead inside the home of the same firefighter, Daus. Sweeney, the latest woman to die in Daus’ home, was a podiatrist and suffered from a disorder which had caused a great deal of physical pain throughout her life. Her death has been classified as sudden, and her attorney told the press that she had a “life-threatening condition.” Sweeney’s autopsy results are still pending, and an investigation is ongoing.

Ohio: As reported by WCMH in Columbus, former Knox County sheriff’s deputy Danial Bobo pleaded guilty in May 2022 to six felony charges related to stealing from a woman stricken with Alzheimer’s disease. At his sentencing on December 29, 2023, Bobo received 90 days with two years of probation instead of the possible eleven years. His wife received the same sentence. Elisabeth Bobo pled guilty on April 18, 2023, to one count of misuse of credit cards, a fourth-degree felony and one count of telecommunication fraud, a fifth-degree felony. According to the Ohio attorney general’s office, Danial and Elisabeth Bobo helped an elderly couple, Kay and Richard Hoppe, move into a nursing home in Mount Vernon. In 2018, Richard Hoppe died. At that time, the Bobos used a power of attorney to gain access to the couple’s credit cards and bank accounts. Between December 2017 and November 2020 the Bobos pilfered more than $500,000 from Kay Hoppe. In 2020, at age 78, she died from Alzheimer’s disease. Danial Bobo then became executor of the estate. Bobo resigned from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office in September 2021, more than a year before being indicted by a Knox County grand jury on charges related to the case.

Ohio: Miranda Brothers, 28, is on paid administrative leave with the Mantua Police Department after she was charged with endangering children. According to WOIO in Cleveland, Brothers allowed her 5-year-old child to be watched by Sebastian Paratore, 40, who was previously convicted of a sexual offense against a juvenile and is a Level III sex offender. According to the complaint, filed on January 1, 2024, Brothers left her child in the care of Paratore, who was “known to her and authorities” as a sexually oriented offender. The complaint also says that Paratore was with the child “alone without any other adult supervision” at a subway shop that he owns. An investigation last spring into Brothers’ relationship with Mantua Police Chief Joseph Urso resulted in a recommendation of discipline for both.

Texas: Albert Sanchez had been a San Antonio policeman for 16 years but is now suspended without pay after an investigation into accusations that he told a witness that he had “multiple sexual encounters with several juveniles, both male and female.” According to KSAT in San Antonio, on January 5, 2024, the witness contacted authorities, and Sanchez was immediately placed on administrative leave. After a search warrant was placed on Sanchez’ cellphone on January 8, several explicit images of minors, all younger than 10, were discovered, and Sanchez was arrested on January 11. Sanchez is charged with possession or promotion of child pornography.  

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