Officer Suspended After Assault Investigation
A Lansing officer turned himself in Friday to face charges of assault and battery of an inmate.
54-year-old David Gladstone has been placed on paid administrative leave indefinitely while the investigation continues.
"It's a very sad day here at the Lansing Police Department," Lansing Police Chief Teresa Szymanski said.
Gladstone is a 20-year department veteran accused of assaulting an inmate, and was arraigned on one misdemeanor count of assault and battery in district court. Police aren't offering details on the assault.
"You certainly hope that as the chief of police you never ever have to deal with a discipline problem or an employee issue, but it happens," Lansing Chief of Police Terese Szymanski said. "We'll deal with it, and we'll get through it."
"It's unfortunate this incident took place, very troubled by the arrest of Detention Office David Gladstone," Szymanski said.
The charges stem from a March 8 complaint against Gladstone. After a two-week-long criminal investigation by Michigan State Police, they handed the case over to the Ingham County Prosecutor who issued a misdemeanor warrant.
"All complaints here at the Lansing Police Department are taken seriously, and if they are complaints that involve potential criminal misconduct, by our policy and procedures, they're referred to the Michigan State Police," Szymanski said.
The chief said the other detention officers and the rest of the department is taking the news pretty hard.
"You don't expect that, I mean, you certainly hope that as the chief of police you never ever have to deal with a discipline problem or an employee issue, but it happens, and we'll deal with it, and we'll get through it," Szymanski said.
LPD's Internal Affairs Unit will begin its investigation after Gladstone's criminal proceedings are finished to determine if he acted outside the policies and procedures of the department. Penalties range from counseling to termination.
"Individuals are innocent until proven guilty in the court of law, and we have the same philosophy here," Szymanski said. "Let the process take place, and we'll see what happens."
She said they won't be hiring another detention officer during Gladstone's absence.
A preliminary hearing has been set for April 8.
Suspended Central Berks officer to rejoin force
The Central Berks Regional police officer suspended in February after being arrested in New Jersey will return to duty on Friday, officials said.
Officer Deron M. Manndel, 28, a five-year member of the force, was charged by Atlantic City police with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in a Feb. 3 disturbance in a nightclub, officials said. He was initially placed on paid leave and then suspended without pay on Feb. 25.
"We're all ready to get this behind us, especially the officer," Mount Penn Mayor Joshua Nowotarski, chairman of the police commission, said Wednesday. "He made a mistake and he wants to get on with his life."
Detective Ray Serafin, Central Berks' officer in charge, said the case was resolved as a disorderly conduct offense, equivalent to a summary-level conviction in Pennsylvania.
Manndel is entering a program that will clear his record within 30 to 60 days, Serafin said.
"He's a good cop. He's a good person," Serafin said. "He just got caught up in something he maybe shouldn't have."
Manndel's attorney, James M. Polyak, could not be reached on Wednesday. In a statement in February, Polyak suggested that someone in the club might have drugged Manndel without his knowledge and later assaulted him.
Anaheim Police Officer Not Charged With Killing Of Latino
Protesters hit police cars as they drive by the intersection of Broadway and Anaheim Blvd Tuesday night JKuly 25, 2012 as police attempt to regroup to put down the disturbance. Back-to-back weekend shootings by police have sparked four days of protests. (AP Photo/The Orange County Register,Paul Rodriguez ) MAGS OUT; LOS ANGELES TIMES OUT
The Anaheim, Calif., police officer who shot and killed a young Latino man last summer – one of a number of police shootings that sparked protests and national media attention – was cleared of charges and deemed legally justified in his actions, the district attorney said after an investigation..
The finding in the July 21, 2012, shooting death of Manuel Diaz was announced in a letter Wednesday by Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.
The shooting by Officer Nicholas Bennallack and the next day's killing of another man by a different Anaheim police officer sparked a series of demonstrations, some of which turned violent.
The finding angered Diaz's mother, Genevieve Huizar, who pledged to protest in front of the local courthouse.
"The D.A. appointed himself the judge and jury for this officer. I'm never going to stop fighting until Nick Bennallack is in prison," Huizar told The Orange County Register.
In the wake of the announcement, the ACLU Foundation on Thursday sent the Anaheim City Council a letter asking it to create a civilian review board for police shootings.
Ruth Ruiz, the city's spokeswoman, did not immediately return a call seeking comment about the letter.
Police said Diaz and his two companions ran when they were approached by officers. Police also said Diaz was a documented gang member from Santa Ana, an allegation his family has denied.
The letter of findings includes statements from the officers and witnesses, a rundown of the evidence, details from the autopsy, and a summary of YouTube video taken after the shooting. It also includes details on Diaz's criminal history and Bennallack's job history, along with a legal analysis of the shooting.
"It is our legal opinion that the evidence does not support a finding of criminal culpability on the part of Officer Bennallack, and that there is significant evidence that the officer's actions were reasonable and justified under the circumstances when he shot Diaz," the letter states.
Bennallack cannot be charged with a crime because the prosecution would be unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he didn't act in self-defense or the defense of others when he shot Diaz, the district attorney wrote.
"Diaz may have been holding a gun," the letter reads.
Three facts are provided to support that possibility: Diaz had a prior felony conviction for possessing a gun for the "benefit of the gang," a cellphone found nearby included photos of Diaz posing with a gun days earlier, and a raid weeks later on gang members found 40 guns.
The findings also say Bennallack had good reason to believe Diaz posed a danger because witness statements indicated Diaz brought an object out of his waistband and raised it as he turned toward officers.
Though the object does not match the description of a handgun, the letter said there must be an "allowance for the 'split-second judgments in tense circumstances' required of Officer Bennallack."
Because Bennallack believed Diaz was pulling a gun from his waistband, the letter stated, it was "not disproportional" to respond with deadly force, even if Bennallack could have responded with his stun gun instead.
Diaz's family has filed a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against the officer and the city.
Man in Police Brutality Case Reaches Deal with City Attorney on Hit-and-Run Charges
Leo Etherly, the man who was pulled over by Seattle police in connection to a Central District hit-and-run last year, and was then allegedly strangled and punched by his arresting officers, has reached a deal with city attorney's office regarding charges of hit-and-run and driving with a suspended license.
Etherly accepted a dispositional continuance deal, meaning that if he has no new criminal violations in the next two years, pays restitution to the hit-and-run victim, completes 48 hours of community service, pledges to drive with a valid license and insurance, completes a drug and alcohol class, and pays a fine of $145, after two years the driving with a suspended license charge will be dismissed and the hit-and-run bicyclist will be reduced to a hit-and-run unattended (meaning, instead of being charged for hitting a person and fleeing the scene, he'll be charged with hitting a bicycle and fleeing the scene. The latter charge is a simple misdemeanor rather than a gross misdemeanor and won't result in the loss of his license).
If Etherly fails to comply with the city attorney's terms, he could face jail time and higher fines.
"Mr. Etherly's case resolution has no bearing on a serious and separate civil rights violation meted out by SPD Officer Faust for refusal to comply and identify himself," says attorney James Egan in response to the deal. Egan is representing Etherly in a claim against the city. "We certainly hope the SPD responds in kind by recognizing that choking detainees and then exacting revenge with facial blows are well below the standards any police should set for themselves."
Egan's full comments after the jump.
Mr. Etherly accepted responsibility for damage to a bicycle to a victim's satisfaction (there was only one, not "victims" as misstated by Kimberly Mills in her email). Mr. Etherly's case resolution has no bearing on a serious and separate civil rights violation meted out by SPD Officer Faust for refusal to comply and identify himself. While probable cause to charge Hit and Run was eventually found by the court months later, probable cause to arrest did not exist at the time Etherly was choked and then struck twice in the eye by Officer Faust. Even if by some angle probable cause for arrest did exist at that time, SPD's use of force continuum was thrown out the window. Etherly's single passive resistance (raising his arm) does not mandate a Level Two tactic of "hands-on-neck," as SPD calls it. Then, even if Etherly's subsequent spitting were intentional and not from his throat swelling, that does not warrant violent retaliation where three officers had every ability to turn him around quickly and put on the other handcuff.
We certainly hope the SPD responds in kind by recognizing that choking detainees and then exacting revenge with facial blows are well below the standards any police should set for themselves. That conduct hurts the community's trust in SPD. The DOJ has been trying to get SPD to understand this with limited success, thanks to poor, defensive SPD leadership that is more committed to hiding than addressing SPD's own transgressions.
We also hope the SPD accepts responsibility for the specific injury caused by the unnecessary and excessive force, and is prepared to pay for the long term medical consequences to Mr. Etherly resulting from that gross deviation from training.
ALSO: The lawsuit against SPD: We filed a "notice of claim" on March 11, which means the City has 60 days to settle this or a suit can be filed. I have heard nothing from them, but it is common not to hear any overtures on resolution from Seattle even when conduct like this is so obviously far afield from appropriate.
Incidentally, Officer Faust is subject also to internal investigation for the pounding. That OPA investigation was started on October 6 (day of incident) and is to be resolved 180 days later. That means resolution should be on April 4, or two weeks from today. I declined the "opportunity" to have Mr. Etherly be interviewed by OPA as they wanted to access his medical records and have him testify and "describe the incident from his perspective." His perspective was choking and then a fist to his face twice while two officers held him down. There is no "opportunity" to be gained in recounting that, which in reality is SPD's hoped-for preparation for the future lawsuit against them. As I told the OPA, they should be focused on the officer's conduct and not the person he badly injured.
Windermere police officers suspended as investigation begins
WINDERMERE, Fla. -
Windermere police have put an two officers on paid administrative leave after allegations of "biased based profiling" surfaced, prompting an internal investigation, city officials said on Wednesday.
According to a release from the city of Windermere, Town Manager Robert Smith was notified of allegations involving officers Jason Darnell and Ryan Miller on the police department and called in the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conduct the investigation.
According to records, Darnell and Miller are under investigation for "biased based profiling," defined as a "selection of an individual based solely on a trait common to a group for enforcement action. This includes but is not limited to: race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, age, cultural group or any other identifiable group."
The alleged incidents occurred in June 2012 when Lee Massie was interim chief, according to records. Ted Brown took over as interim chief in October 2012 and reported the incidents to FDLE in November 2012.
Darnell was hired by Windermere police in 2008 after leaving the Altamonte Police Department. Miller was hired in 2011 and was a reserve officer prior to being hired.
Records show Darnell had a previous internal affairs case in 2011 that was sustained for courtesy and attitude and "transportation of persons in distress." Miller had internal affairs in 2011 and 2012 but both cases were unfounded because of insufficient evidence.
Both men have been placed on paid leave until the investigation is completed, officials said.
Windermere's police department has been under extreme scrutiny since 2011 when former police chief Daniel Saylor was arrested for covering up a child rape investigation involving his friend. Saylor pleaded no contest to misconduct and is now on probation.
"I think they can be confident in the fact that they have been through a lot over the last two years. I think this is a resilient community and I think they'll remain resilient," said town manager Robert Smith.
The department is now being reorganized by a brand new chief who was hired two months ago. Most of the 12-person department that worked under Saylor have either been fired or have resigned.
NYPD Officer Suspended For Firing Gun At A Bar
An NYPD officer has been suspended for firing his gun at a bar, then driving drunk. Officer Lester Sanchez, of Brooklyn’s 75th Precinct, was arrested for the March 9 incident that happened when he was off-duty.
The problems reportedly started when Sanchez and his girlfriend, a fellow NYPD officer, got into an argument with patrons in a Brooklyn bar. As the argument escalated, bar staff reportedly told the rowdy group to leave.
As reported by NY Daily News, Sanchez and the others left the bar, but continued the argument outside. At some point Sanchez reportedly went to his car, grabbed his gun, and headed back toward the bar.
Sanchez contends that a group of women has surrounded his girlfriend, Officer Janice Caban, and were threatening her. Witnesses report that Sanchez pointed his gun directly at one of the women before firing it into the air.
Sanchez jumped into his car and drove away from the scene. He was eventually pulled over and arrested for the disturbance at the bar and driving under the influence. Officers report that there was an open container of alcohol in Sanchez’s car, and he appeared to be intoxicated.
As reported by CBS, Sanchez refused a breathalyzer test and told officers that his gun was in his locker at the precinct. Officer Janice Caban initially has possession of the gun, but turned it in to investigators.
Officials report that the 29-year-old NYPD officer was suspended without pay for firing his gun at a bar and driving while intoxicated.
Sanchez’s girlfriend, Janice Caban, has also been suspended without pay for her part in the incident. As she is currently considered a rookie, the 25-year-old may lose her badge without a hearing.
The NYPD officer’s suspension and arrest threaten to ruin his career. Authorities and internal affairs are still investigating the situation. Sanchez has hired an attorney and did not offer any comment about the incident.
Cop Charged With Assault Makes 5th NYPD Officer Arrested Since Friday
Just a quick update for those of you playing Cop Arrest Bingo; we've spun the little Bingo ball and plucked out the first item of the day, so get your markers ready: It is... NYPD Officer charged with Assault. Yes, according to the NYPD press office, Officer Paule Rivera (that's right, Paule with an "e") was arrested shortly before 1 a.m. this morning "within the confines of the 26th Precinct." (That's located in upper Manhattan and is bounded by the Hudson River and Henry Hudson Parkway.)
There are no details yet regarding the nature of Rivera's charges—the NYPD will only say that 35-year-old officer was charged with assault in the third degree. The Internet tells us this is "the most commonly charged criminal offenses in New York City... Allegations of assault can arise from a number of ways, including through the use of verbal threats or touching another person against their will."
We'll update as more information about Rivera's arrest becomes available. This marks the fifth NYPD officer arrested in as many days. (Two NYPD employees were also arrested.) Over the weekend, three cops were arrested for DWI, and a fourth cop, Miguel Gomez, was charged with unlawful surveillance after allegedly deriving "sexual gratification" from hidden camera footage of his step-daughter. His attorney insists Gomez just made "a single recording of the victim. It was taken in the bathroom and no sexual activity was recorded." We're sure there's a simple explanation for why that camera was in the bathroom—God knows those seashell soaps have a funny way of disappearing.
Update 11:03 a.m.: The Post reports that Rivera was arrested after assaulting a customer at a Hamilton Heights grocery store where he moonlights as a security guard. Sources say Rivera was working at the grocery, located at 12th Avenue and West 132nd Street, when he got into a fight with a customer shortly after midnight. Police were summoned, and Rivera was arrested at the premises. It's still unclear what injuries the customer sustained.
OPP keeping mum after officer charged
"It’s important for the public to recognize that when something like this happens, we have resources in the OPP we can call upon so we’re not relying on the detachment of origin to conduct the investigation.”
MIDLAND - Ontario Provincial Police officials are still keeping mum about details after one of their own was charged with two counts of uttering threats.
Southern Georgian Bay OPP Const. Glen Hollett, a 10-year member of the OPP, was charged last week, not long after the alleged incident was brought to their attention, noted Const. Peter Leon.
Leon told The Mirror he was unable to get into any specifics about the alleged incident, or how it was brought to the department’s attention.
“We brought in detectives from within Central Region and they conducted the investigation,” he said, adding members of the Central Region Criminal Operations division were also brought in to investigate.
“It was not conducted by the Southern Georgian Bay detachment. It’s important for the public to recognize that when something like this happens, we have resources in the OPP we can call upon so we’re not relying on the detachment of origin to conduct the investigation.”
Public trust, said Leon, is the “cornerstone of policing”, adding no matter the circumstances it’s important to the OPP to keep the public informed.
“Although we can’t say very much because of the ongoing status, we feel it’s important to let the public know an investigation has taken place, that has resulted in an arrest and criminal charges being laid …and that it’s continuing,” he said.
Leon acknowledged it can be difficult for officers when one of their own is charged.
“It’s certainly a difficult time. Police officers are human beings (but) when we make mistakes we have to be made accountable for our actions both on and off duty. At the end of the day, if an officer has a situation where a law has been broken we have an obligation to conduct an investigation in the same manner we would with anyone of the public.”
A Midland resident, who didn’t want her name used, met Const. Holland two years ago after he responded to an incident at her home. She described him as a “strong but caring” police officer.
“He was friendly but wanted to get down to business,” she said, adding she was shocked when she learned he’d been charged. “I couldn’t believe it. He cared about what was going on, who I was, my kid’s safety … it seemed like it was more than just a job for him.”
2 Pa. officers suspended for fighting at police station
The short altercation did not harm anyone; officials are investigating what caused the tussle
BRADDOCK, Pa. — Two Braddock police officers have been suspended after getting into a fight at the police station late Thursday.
Mayor John Fetterman said the incident occurred about 11:30 p.m., toward the end of their shifts. The officers weren't injured in the "very short" altercation, which Mr. Fetterman described as "over before it started." The fight ended when the men realized they were behaving inappropriately and another officer in the room broke up the fight, Mr. Fetterman said.
"Unfortunately, a line was crossed," he said, adding that the incident will be investigated to find out what caused the fight and whether any disciplinary action should be taken. Both men are on hourly pay, so they are now effectively suspended without pay.