This Week’s Corrupt Cops Stories

Friday, July 1st, 2011

It never ends, does it? Another week, another set of crooked cops. At least this week, the jail and prison guards managed to stay out of the news. Let’s get to it:

pile of cash 22 This Weeks Corrupt Cops StoriesIn New York City, an NYPD narcotics detective was arrested on June 9 on charges he lied about witnessing drug transactions that resulted in the arrest of one man for selling crack and three others who were his customers. Detective Francisco Payano’s fictive report began to fall apart last year when a defense attorney brought forward surveillance video footage of the location in question that showed no drug dealing going on at the time in question and that Payano wasn’t even present. The case against the alleged dealer has been dropped, but one customer already pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. The cases against the other two have been sealed. Payano faces 64 counts of perjury and other charges. He has been released pending trial.

In Nashville, a Metropolitan Nashville police officer was indicted Friday on federal bribery and drug trafficking charges. Officer Richard Wilson, 31, went down in a sting after accepting $24,500 to transport what he thought was cocaine for who he thought were drug traffickers. He is charged with soliciting a bribe, attempted cocaine distribution, and money laundering.

In Philadelphia, two former Philadelphia police officers were sentenced June 15 to 10 to 20 years in prison each after being caught in an undercover sting helping drug dealers rob a man they thought was a drug courier. Christopher Luciano, 23, and Sean Alivera, 31, were arrested last October and pleaded guilty in April to charges of robbery, conspiracy, kidnapping, official oppression and possession of a drug with intent to deliver.

In Jacksonville, Florida, a former Jacksonville Sheriff’s officer was sentenced Monday to 10 years in federal prison for agreeing to transport cocaine from Daytona to Jacksonville in return for payment. Former officer Carl Kohn went down after he starting plotting a deal with a “cooperating individual” to transport five kilos of cocaine in return for $2,500. He pleaded guilty to possession with the intent to distribute five or more kilos of cocaine.

In Mesquite, Texas, the former head of the Mesquite Police narcotics unit was sentenced Monday to 15 months in federal prison for stealing cash during an undercover drug operation. John David McAllister, 42, went down after authorities received a tip that an officer was stealing drug money and FBI agents set up an undercover sting in March. FBI agents left $100,000 in cash in 52 bundles in a car they directed McAllister to search. They videotaped him removing one of the bundles and stuffing it in his pants before returning to the Mesquite Police Department. Still under surveillance, McAllister then drove to a nearby shopping mall and bought a $480 watch. FBI agents matched the cash used in that transaction to photocopies of the cash they used in the sting. McAllister was charged with theft of government property.

This Week’s Corrupt Cops Stories is a post from Cop Block - "Something must be done about vengeance, a badge, and a gun"

This Week’s Corrupt Cops Stories

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

We’ve got it all this week: jail guards, police dispatchers, parole officers, big city narcs, small town deputies… Let’s get to it:

pile of cash 21 This Weeks Corrupt Cops StoriesIn Edgard, Louisiana, a St. John the Baptist Parish jail guard was arrested June 8 after a sheriff’s office investigation found he was smuggling drugs to inmates in the parish jail. Allen Meadows, 41, went down after the sheriff’s office got tipped off he was smuggling dope, and that’s all the sheriff will say so far. He was charged with malfeasance in office and four counts of trafficking contraband to a correctional institution. A search of his home in neighboring St. Charles Parish resulted in additional charges of possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of cocaine. He was jailed on a $20,000 bond. And he’s now a former jail guard — he was fired after being arrested.

In Virginia Beach, Virginia, a Norfolk police officer was arrested June 9 on charges he was peddling steroids and marijuana. Officer Kristen Wayne Harris is charged with 10 counts of manufacturing or selling steroids and one count of selling pot. He also faces misdemeanor charges of selling or intending to sell drug paraphernalia and assisting an individual in unlawfully procuring a prescription drug. The offenses allegedly occurred on various dates in the last three months.

In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a former state parole officer was arrested June 9 for allegedly asking for bribes from parolees to overlook positive drug tests or not administer the tests and for not incarcerating them when they violated parole. Kenneth Dupree, 46, is also accused of using threats of incarceration to extort and intimidate parolees into giving him money. It’s not clear what the formal charges are.

In Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, a Lawrence County jail guard was arrested last Friday after being accused of getting paid $25 to smuggle packages of pills, pot and tobacco to inmates at the jail. Adam Cozart, 24, went down after deputies were tipped by at least three inmates that he was bringing contraband into the jail. They waited for him and confronted him when he came to work, and Cozart admitted having a package for two inmates. It contained four Percocet tablets, a small amount of weed, and tobacco. He is charged with two counts of introduction of contraband into a penal facility, possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was booked into a neighboring county jail.

In Krotz Springs, Louisiana, a Krotz Springs Police dispatcher was arrested Monday after she allegedly released two jail inmates from their cells, helped them break into the department evidence room, and then shared stolen drugs with them. Dispatcher Amanda Nall, 23, went down after the department reported a burglary to the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff’s investigators say Nall released the two inmates, then shut off the lights near the evidence room in a bid to thwart security cameras while one of the inmates broke into the evidence room and stole the drugs, which he and the other inmate shared with Nall before returning to their cells. Nall is charged with malfeasance in office and simple burglary, while the inmates are charged with simple burglary.

In McAllen, Texas, a former Hidalgo County Sheriff’s deputy pleaded guilty June 9 to trying to sell confiscated marijuana to informants in other cases. Omar Salazar copped to federal counts of marijuana possession and conspiracy to possess marijuana. He also faces state charges in the scheme that surfaced during a raid at a stash house in Mission in 2009. He’s looking at up to 40 years on the federal charges. No sentencing date has been set.

In Jacksonville, Georgia, a former Appling County sheriff’s deputy pleaded guilty June 9 to tipping off a suspected marijuana trafficker to an impending raid by a joint narcotics task force in January. Richard Crosby, 36, was present during a planning meeting for the raid, which was the culmination of a months-long undercover operation, and he admitted that he passed word to the target through a second person to stay away from home the following day because a raid was coming. He pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to the distribution of controlled substances, marijuana. He faces up to 2 1/2 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000. He is out on bail pending sentencing.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, two Tulsa police officers were cleared and one former office was found guilty Monday in a complex federal case involving accusations of drug distribution, stealing money during an FBI sting, and planting drugs on people. Officer Bruce Bonham, 53, and Officer Nick DeBruin, 38, were acquitted on all the counts against them. Retired Cpl. Harold R. Wells, 60, was found guilty of drug conspiracy, carrying a firearm during drug trafficking and stealing US funds during the FBI sting. He’s looking at a mandatory minimum 15-year prison sentence, and he was ordered taken into custody upon the reading of the verdict. Bonham and DeBruin walked despite video surveillance footage of them and Wells splitting up and pocketing cash during the sting.

This Week’s Corrupt Cops Stories is a post from Cop Block - "Something must be done about vengeance, a badge, and a gun"

The Cost of the War on Drugs

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Originally posted at FeeTV.

June 17, 2011 marks the 40th Anniversary of Nixons’ War on Drugs. Ever wonder what it costs and if it’s worth it?

“That’s like putting almost everyone in Hawaii and Alaska in prison.”

Sheldon Richman once wrote “For years advocates of free trade in drugs—that is, basic rights to life, liberty, and property for drug consumers, producers, and merchants—have pointed out that prohibition, in addition to being an immoral invasion of liberty by the State, sets in motion a variety of concrete evils that harm innocent people. These evils include the corruption of law enforcement, violent crime, and the expansion of intrusive government. Besides these domestic evils, the U.S. government has alienated farmers in foreign lands by helping to destroy their crops and livelihoods. If that’s not terrorism, nothing is.”

Read more about the War on Drugs:

Drugs, Economics, and Liberty by Walter E. Williams
What the Drug Warriers Have Given Us by Sheldon Richman
The Fiasco of Prohibition by Douglas Rogers
Politics and Prohibition by Donald J. Boudreaux
The Re-legalization of Drugs by Tibor R. Machan & Mark Thornton

The Cost of the War on Drugs is a post from Cop Block - "Something must be done about vengeance, a badge, and a gun"

The War Against the American Citizen

Friday, June 17th, 2011

I heard an amazing thing on television today, a minister was on some Christian station talking about how he believes the United States may not be the freest nation on Earth anymore, and how we may be creeping towards totalitarianism.

I loved that guy and figured Christians everywhere in America were having a shit-fit over his words. The only thing I disagreed with him on was that turning to God was the way to fix it.

I tell everyone the same thing, complacency is the problem in this country, we let the government take over our education and that is why we think we need the government to survive. Saying no is the way to fix it, not bending over and taking every order and dictate the government and police throw at you is the way to fix it.

We have become a nation of docile people who believe we don’t know what is best for us and must have masters, masquerading as servants, ordering us around and punishing us severely if we disobey.

Just ask yourself one question, if you were educated by Wal-Mart, and they told you that without them you would die, would you believe them?

This is how far we have fallen, SWAT teams are everywhere and are now conducting raids on people who have not paid off their student loans.

John Whitehead had a great piece on this over at Lew Rockwell on Tuesday

SWAT Team Mania: The War Against the American Citizen

by John W. Whitehead

“He [a federal agent] had his knee on my back and I had no idea why they were there.” ~ Anthony Wright, victim of a Dept. of Education SWAT team raid

The militarization of American police – no doubt a blowback effect of the military empire – has become an unfortunate part of American life. In fact, it says something about our reliance on the military that federal agencies having nothing whatsoever to do with national defense now see the need for their own paramilitary units. Among those federal agencies laying claim to their own law enforcement divisions are the State Department, Department of Education, Department of Energy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service, to name just a few. These agencies have secured the services of fully armed agents – often in SWAT team attire – through a typical bureaucratic sleight-of-hand provision allowing for the creation of Offices of Inspectors General (OIG). Each OIG office is supposedly charged with not only auditing their particular agency’s actions but also uncovering possible misconduct, waste, fraud, theft, or certain types of criminal activity by individuals or groups related to the agency’s operation. At present, there are 73 such OIG offices in the federal government that, at times, perpetuate a police state aura about them.

For example, it was heavily armed agents from one such OIG office, working under the auspices of the Department of Education, who forced their way into the home of a California man, handcuffed him, and placed his three children (ages 3, 7, and 11) in a squad car while they conducted a search of his home. This federal SWAT team raid, which is essentially what it was, on the home of Anthony Wright on Tuesday, June 7, 2011, was allegedly intended to ferret out information on Wright’s estranged wife, Michelle, who no longer lives with him and who was suspected of financial aid fraud (early news reports characterized the purpose of the raid as being over Michelle’s delinquent student loans). According to Wright, he was awakened at 6 am by the sound of agents battering down his door and, upon descending the stairs, was immediately subdued by police. One neighbor actually witnessed the team of armed agents surround the house and, after forcing entry, they “dragged [Wright] out in his boxer shorts, threw him to the ground and handcuffed him.”

This is not the first time a SWAT team has been employed in non-violent scenarios. Nationwide, SWAT teams have been employed to address an astonishingly trivial array of criminal activity or mere community nuisances: angry dogs, domestic disputes, improper paperwork filed by an orchid farmer, and misdemeanor marijuana possession, to give a brief sampling. In some instances, SWAT teams are even employed, in full armament, to perform routine patrols.

How did we allow ourselves to travel so far down the road to a police state? While we are now grappling with a power-hungry police state at the federal level, the militarization of domestic American law enforcement is largely the result of the militarization of local police forces, which are increasingly militaristic in their uniforms, weaponry, language, training, and tactics and have come to rely on SWAT teams in matters that once could have been satisfactorily performed by traditional civilian officers. Even so, this transformation of law enforcement at the local level could not have been possible without substantial assistance from on high.

Frequently justified as vital tools necessary to combat terrorism and deal with rare but extremely dangerous criminal situations, such as those involving hostages, SWAT teams – which first appeared on the scene in California in the 1960s – have now become intrinsic parts of local law enforcement operations, thanks in large part to substantial federal assistance. For example, in 1994, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Defense agreed to a memorandum of understanding that enabled the transfer of federal military technology to local police forces. Following the passage of the Defense Authorization Security Act of 1997, which was intended to accelerate the transfer of military equipment to domestic law enforcement departments, local police acquired military weaponry – gratuitously or at sharp discounts – at astonishing rates. Between 1997 and 1999, the agency created by the Defense Authorization Security Act conveyed 3.4 million orders of military equipment to over 11,000 local police agencies in all 50 states. Not only did this vast abundance of military weaponry contribute to a more militarized police force, but it also helped spur the creation of SWAT teams in jurisdictions across the country.

In one of the few quantitative studies on the subject, criminologist Peter Kraska found in 1997 that close to 90 percent of cities with populations exceeding 50,000 and at least 100 sworn officers had at least one paramilitary unit. In a separate study, Kraska determined that, as of 1996, 65 percent of towns with populations between 25,000 and 50,000 had a paramilitary unit, with an additional 8 percent intending to establish one.

While the frequency of SWAT operations has increased dramatically in recent years, jumping from 1,000 to 40,000 raids per year by 2001, it appears to have less to do with increases in violent crime and more to do with law enforcement bureaucracy and a police state mentality. Indeed, according to Kraska’s estimates, 75-80 percent of SWAT callouts are now for mere warrant service. In some jurisdictions, SWAT teams are responsible for servicing 100 percent of all drug warrants issued. A Maryland study, conducted in the wake of a botched raid in 2008 that resulted in the mistaken detainment of Berwyn Heights mayor Cheye Calvo and the shooting deaths of his two dogs, corroborates Kraska’s findings. According to the study, SWAT teams are deployed 4.5 times per day in Maryland with 94 percent of those deployments being for something as minor as serving search or arrest warrants. In the county in which the Calvo raid occurred, more than 50 percent of SWAT operations carried out were for misdemeanors or non-serious felonies.

This overuse of paramilitary forces and increased reliance on military weaponry has inevitably resulted in a pervasive culture of militarism in domestic law enforcement. Police mimicry of the military is enhanced by the war-heavy imagery and metaphors associated with law enforcement activity: the war on drugs, the war on crime, etc. Moreover, it is estimated that 46 percent of paramilitary units were trained by “active-duty military experts in special operations.” In turn, the military mindset adopted by many SWAT members encourages a tendency to employ lethal force. After all, soldiers are authorized to terminate enemy combatants. As Lawrence Korb, a former official in the Reagan Administration, put it, soldiers are “trained to vaporize, not Mirandize.”

Ironically, despite the fact that SWAT team members are subject to greater legal restraints than their counterparts in the military, they are often less well-trained in the use of force than are the special ops soldiers on which they model themselves. Indeed, SWAT teams frequently fail to conform to the basic precautions required in military raids. For instance, after reading about a drug raid in Missouri, an army officer currently serving in Afghanistan commented:

My first thought on reading this story is this: Most American police SWAT teams probably have fewer restrictions on conducting forced entry raids than do US forces in Afghanistan. For our troops over here to conduct any kind of forced entry, day or night, they have to meet one of two conditions: have a bad guy (or guys) inside actively shooting at them; or obtain permission from a 2-star general, who must be convinced by available intelligence (evidence) that the person or persons they’re after is present at the location, and that it’s too dangerous to try less coercive methods.

Remember, SWAT teams originated as specialized units dedicated to defusing extremely sensitive, dangerous situations. As the role of paramilitary forces has expanded, however, to include involvement in nondescript police work targeting nonviolent suspects, the mere presence of SWAT units has actually injected a level of danger and violence into police-citizen interactions that was not present as long as these interactions were handled by traditional civilian officers. In one drug raid, for instance, an unarmed pregnant woman was shot as she attempted to flee the police by climbing out a window. In another case, the girlfriend of a drug suspect and her young child crouched on the floor in obedience to police instructions during the execution of a search warrant. One officer proceeded to shoot the family dogs. His fellow officer, in another room, mistook the shots for hostile gunfire and fired blindly into the room where the defendant crouched, killing her and wounding her child.

What we are witnessing is an inversion of the police-civilian relationship. Rather than compelling police officers to remain within constitutional bounds as servants of the people, ordinary Americans are being placed at the mercy of law enforcement. This is what happens when paramilitary forces are used to conduct ordinary policing operations, such as executing warrants on nonviolent defendants. Yet studies indicate that paramilitary raids frequently result in misdemeanor convictions. An investigation by Denver’s Rocky Mountain News revealed that of the 146 no-knock raids conducted in Denver in 2000, only 49 resulted in charges. And only two resulted in prison sentences for suspects targeted in the raids.

General incompetence, collateral damage (fatalities, property damage, etc.) and botched raids tend to go hand in hand with an overuse of paramilitary forces. In some cases, officers misread the address on the warrant. In others, they simply barge into the wrong house or even the wrong building. In another subset of cases (such as the Department of Education raid on Anthony Wright’s home), police conduct a search of a building where the suspect no longer resides. SWAT teams have even on occasion conducted multiple, sequential raids on wrong addresses or executed search warrants despite the fact that the suspect is already in police custody. Police have also raided homes on the basis of mistaking the presence or scent of legal substances for drugs. Incredibly, these substances have included tomatoes, sunflowers, fish, elderberry bushes, kenaf plants, hibiscus, and ragweed.

All too often, botched SWAT team raids have resulted in one tragedy after another for the residents with little consequences for law enforcement. Judges tend to afford extreme levels of deference to police officers who have mistakenly killed innocent civilians but do not afford similar leniency to civilians who have injured police officers in acts of self-defense. Even homeowners who mistake officers for robbers can be sentenced for assault or murder if they take defensive actions resulting in harm to police.

And as journalist Radley Balko shows in his in-depth study of police militarization, the shock-and-awe tactics utilized by many SWAT teams only increases the likelihood that someone will get hurt. Drug warrants, for instance, are typically served by paramilitary units late at night or shortly before dawn. Unfortunately, to the unsuspecting homeowner – especially in cases involving mistaken identities or wrong addresses – a raid can appear to be nothing less than a violent home invasion, with armed intruders crashing through their door. The natural reaction would be to engage in self-defense. Yet such a defensive reaction on the part of a homeowner, particularly a gun owner, will spur officers to employ lethal force.

That’s exactly what happened to Jose Guerena, the young ex-Marine who was killed after a SWAT team kicked open the door of his Arizona home during a drug raid and opened fire. According to news reports, Guerena, 26 years old and the father of two young children, grabbed a gun in response to the forced invasion but never fired. In fact, the safety was still on his gun when he was killed. Police officers were not as restrained. The young Iraqi war veteran was allegedly fired upon 71 times. Guerena had no prior criminal record, and the police found nothing illegal in his home.

The problems inherent in these situations are further compounded by the fact that SWAT teams are granted “no-knock” warrants at high rates such that the warrants themselves are rendered practically meaningless. This sorry state of affairs is made even worse by recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings that have essentially done away with the need for a “no-knock” warrant altogether, giving the police authority to disregard the protections afforded American citizens by the Fourth Amendment.

In the process, Americans are rendered altogether helpless and terror-stricken as a result of these confrontations with the police. Indeed, “terrorizing” is a mild term to describe the effect on those who survive such vigilante tactics. “It was terrible. It was the most frightening experience of my life. I thought it was a terrorist attack,” said 84-year-old Leona Goldberg, a victim of such a raid. Yet this type of “terrorizing” activity is characteristic of the culture that we have created. As author Eugene V. Walker, a former Boston University professor, wrote some years ago, “A society in which people are already isolated and atomized, divided by suspicious and destructive rivalry, would support a system of terror better than a society without much chronic antagonism.”

The War Against the American Citizen is a post from Cop Block - "Something must be done about vengeance, a badge, and a gun"

CopBlock.org Featured on the Reality Report

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Nick Saorsa, voice of CopBlock.org’s  Police Accountability Report (along with his wife), and Drew Phillips, good friend and featured CopBlock videographer, were recently interview on Gary Franchi’s Reality Report. They covered everything from our FB page, YouTube Channel, Submission tab and more. Thanks again and it’s great to see the work many contribute here getting noticed.

 

Remember, we’re currently running a promotion for free swag. Check out this post, or watch the video below for more details.

CopBlock.org Featured on the Reality Report is a post from Cop Block - "Something must be done about vengeance, a badge, and a gun"

This Week’s Corrupt Cops Stories

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

Narcs get rowdy at a narc convention and a pair of cops who couldn’t keep their paws off the pills. Let’s get to it:

pile of cash 19 This Weeks Corrupt Cops Stories

In Hyannis, Massachusetts, a group of men attending the New England Narcotics Officers Association is accused by a Cape Cod DJ of twice attacking him at a bar after he tried to non-violently intervene on behalf of a woman being harassed by one of them. The narcs were in town for a convention. Duane Alves, better known as DJ Alvzie filed a report with Barnstable Police after the incident in which he said one of the men dumped a drink on his head, then punched him. The man’s comrades joined in the beating. Alves also said that the men then blocked the exits from the bar and attacked him again when he tried to leave. The second attack resulted in serious injuries, including broken bones around his right eye and a damaged nasal cavity. Alves managed to grab a cell phone of his attackers dropped, and Barnstable Police confirmed it belonged to someone who attended the narc-fest, but would not identify the owner. Barnstable Police continue to investigate.

In Napoleonville, Louisiana, a former Assumption Parish sheriff’s deputy pleaded guilty May 24 to a whopping 438 malfeasance and drug charges for using seized drugs to feed his own habits. Louis Lambert, 48, had been the evidence room technician for seven years when deputies discovered missing drug case evidence in April 2010. Lambert was arrested in June 2010 and fired and indicted in October. He copped to 336 counts of malfeasance for evidence tampering, 35 counts of pot possession, 24 counts of cocaine possession, 11 counts of prescription drug possession, one count of Oxycodone possession, one count of steroid possession, once count of Alprazolam possession,10 counts of drug paraphernalia possession, 14 counts of possessing a firearm while in possession of illegal drugs, four counts of firearms theft and one count of theft under $300. Charges against about 20 drug suspects had to be dropped because of the missing evidence. He faces up to 1400 years in prison when sentenced July 6.

In Yorkville, Illinois, the Yorkville Police deputy chief was arrested last Friday on charges he stole pain relieving pills from the department’s drug collection program.  Deputy Chief Dave Delaney is charged with possession of hydrocodone and theft of government property. Yorkville Police had become suspicious that some of the drugs turned in were missing and contacted the Illinois State Police, who conducted a week-long investigation. They marked some of the hydrocodone pills, then confronted Delaney and found he had several on him. He faces up to three years in prison on each count.

This Week’s Corrupt Cops Stories is a post from Cop Block - "Something must be done about vengeance, a badge, and a gun"

This Week’s Corrupt Cops Stories

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

Narcs get rowdy at a narc convention and a pair of cops who couldn’t keep their paws off the pills. Let’s get to it:

pile of cash 19 This Weeks Corrupt Cops Stories

In Hyannis, Massachusetts, a group of men attending the New England Narcotics Officers Association is accused by a Cape Cod DJ of twice attacking him at a bar after he tried to non-violently intervene on behalf of a woman being harassed by one of them. The narcs were in town for a convention. Duane Alves, better known as DJ Alvzie filed a report with Barnstable Police after the incident in which he said one of the men dumped a drink on his head, then punched him. The man’s comrades joined in the beating. Alves also said that the men then blocked the exits from the bar and attacked him again when he tried to leave. The second attack resulted in serious injuries, including broken bones around his right eye and a damaged nasal cavity. Alves managed to grab a cell phone of his attackers dropped, and Barnstable Police confirmed it belonged to someone who attended the narc-fest, but would not identify the owner. Barnstable Police continue to investigate.

In Napoleonville, Louisiana, a former Assumption Parish sheriff’s deputy pleaded guilty May 24 to a whopping 438 malfeasance and drug charges for using seized drugs to feed his own habits. Louis Lambert, 48, had been the evidence room technician for seven years when deputies discovered missing drug case evidence in April 2010. Lambert was arrested in June 2010 and fired and indicted in October. He copped to 336 counts of malfeasance for evidence tampering, 35 counts of pot possession, 24 counts of cocaine possession, 11 counts of prescription drug possession, one count of Oxycodone possession, one count of steroid possession, once count of Alprazolam possession,10 counts of drug paraphernalia possession, 14 counts of possessing a firearm while in possession of illegal drugs, four counts of firearms theft and one count of theft under $300. Charges against about 20 drug suspects had to be dropped because of the missing evidence. He faces up to 1400 years in prison when sentenced July 6.

In Yorkville, Illinois, the Yorkville Police deputy chief was arrested last Friday on charges he stole pain relieving pills from the department’s drug collection program.  Deputy Chief Dave Delaney is charged with possession of hydrocodone and theft of government property. Yorkville Police had become suspicious that some of the drugs turned in were missing and contacted the Illinois State Police, who conducted a week-long investigation. They marked some of the hydrocodone pills, then confronted Delaney and found he had several on him. He faces up to three years in prison on each count.

This Week’s Corrupt Cops Stories is a post from Cop Block - "Something must be done about vengeance, a badge, and a gun"

Undercover Narcotics Officer Exposed: Det. Charles I. Newton

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

This post was written by Ian Freeman, the host of Free Talk Live, and originally posted to FreeKeene.com

charles newton Undercover Narcotics Officer Exposed: Det. Charles I. NewtonThanks first to Bob “Weeda Claus” Constantine for having the courage to take his cannabis growing case to trial. Bob’s courage made what happened today possible. Because Bob took his case to trial, the state had to call its undercover agents to the stand and despite their desperate efforts to keep them away from cameras, they were still all seen personally by those of us in the courtroom. The first to testify against Bob was NH Drug Task Force detective Charles I. Newton, the most undercover-looking of them all. He looks like a pretty cool guy and if only he weren’t engaging in deception for the purposes of caging peaceful people, maybe he would be. We were unable to get a decent picture of him on the day of Bob’s trial. However, here’s what happened today:

We were going to breakfast in Newport after attending a fellow activist’s speeding ticket trial, when I noticed two cars parked drivers’ side-window-to-window in the parking lot of the Country Kitchen restaurant. The driver of the black late model Nissan Altima (we think it’s plate number 297 7758 – the 297 is for sure, not sure about the last four) looked a lot like Charles I. Newton, so I asked Ademo from Liberty on Tour if he thought that was him. He confirmed it and shouted out Charles’ name. Then Charles high-tailed it (complete with screeching tires) out of the parking lot. We consulted the young man in the red car and informed him that he’d been talking to an undercover cop. At least in this instance, we saved the man from going to prison. Newton had already given the young man cash in order to allegedly purchase narcotics, so the deal was almost done when we managed to intervene.

Now, if I’m recalling correctly, Newton testified during Bob’s trial that he lives in Cheshire county. Undercover officers tend to live in one place and work in others so there is a lower chance of them being recognized by locals. Thus far, we know that Newton works in Grafton and Sullivan counties, and maybe elsewhere. If it’s true that Newton lives in Cheshire county, that means there’s a chance you know him. Perhaps you grew up with him? Please post your comments below or send a private message via the Forum or via email ademo at copblock.org

I should have started recording sooner, zoomed the camera, and done better to focus on Newton’s exit, but hindsight is always 20-20. At least we were able to intervene, expose this deception artist, and save a young man from being caged. Special thanks to Pete, Ademo, and Beau from Liberty on Tour for springing into action! Don’t expect him to continue driving the same undercover vehicle, but here’s the brief video from today, for what it’s worth:

Also, here’s a court case where Newton plays a major role in a drug bust, just to give you confirmation of who he is and how he operates. Newton’s middle initial was found in a Keene Sentinel article. What do you know about Charles I. Newton?

Here’s the number for the NH Drug Task Force if you’d like to leave them or Charles a message: 603-271-3291

Undercover Narcotics Officer Exposed: Det. Charles I. Newton is a post from Cop Block - "Something must be done about vengeance, a badge, and a gun"

This Week’s Corrupt Cops Stories

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Drug-related police corruption comes in many varieties. We’ve got several this week. Let’s get to it:

In Piscataway, New Jersey, a Piscataway police officer was arrested April 25 on charges he stole cocaine while working as the departmepile of cash 18 This Weeks Corrupt Cops Storiesnt’s evidence officer. Albert Annuzzi, 47, is charged with one count each of official misconduct-theft by unlawful taking and tampering with evidence. Prosecutors said he took the cocaine for personal use. They did not announce his arrest until last week.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, one Wake County sheriff’s deputy has been arrested and another is under investigation for the theft of drugs and cash from the department. Deputy Balinda Manley, 34, was fired after her arrest last month when she was charged with two counts of embezzlement and one count of possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana. She went down after a routine audit showed that she signed out drugs and $6,435 in cash last June, but didn’t return it. When prosecuted requested the evidence for trial, she returned drugs, and then, five days later, what she said was the cash. But when investigators opened the package, they found a pile of blank paper sandwiched between two $100 bills. Investigators found a deposit slip for $1,800 in Manley’s care and one for $940 in the car of a second deputy, Chad Hines. He is now under investigation.

In Duanesburg, New York, a University at Albany police investigator was arrested May 16 along with her husband after a search of their property turned up 100 marijuana plants growing in a pole barn. Wendy Knoebel, 48, and her husband face a federal charge of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana. The pair has been released on bail.

In San Leandro, California, a San Leandro Police narcotics officer was arrested last Friday on charges he furnished marijuana to a confidential informant for sale. Detective Jason Fredriksson, 38, allegedly provided more than a pound of pot to the snitch, who planned to sell it, police said. He is also the subject of an internal investigation for having an “improper relationship” with the snitch. He has been on the San Leandro force for nine years, and most recently has been a detective in the vice/narcotics unit and a member of the 14-person SWAT team.

In Phoenix, a Maricopa County sheriff’s deputy and two detention officers were arrested Tuesday on drug and human trafficking charges. Deputy Ruben Navarette and detention officers Marcella Hernandez and Sylvia Najera face felony charges. Seven other sheriff’s employees were being investigated for their possible involvement. The three arrested are accused of being part of a Phoenix-based international drug smuggling ring. Hernandez told authorities she is eight months pregnant with the child of the ring’s leader, a member of the Sinaloa Cartel. Navarette admitted to passing information about the sheriff’s crime-prevention operations to the group. The deputy also was accused of being part of a separate human trafficking ring that smuggled illegal immigrants from Arizona to California. Deputies found two illegal immigrants when they searched his home. He is also alleged to be an active member of the drug smuggling ring that brought loads of heroin from Mexico to Phoenix. Ten pounds of heroin and nearly $200,000 in cash, weapons, vehicles and stolen property were seized during searches. Hernandez, 28, was found with $16,000 cash when she was arrested Tuesday after arriving for work. She is being held on charges that include transporting drugs and money laundering. Najera is charged with money laundering and controlling a criminal enterprise.

In San Antonio, a former Bexar County sheriff’s deputy was sentenced May 19 to six years in prison for trying to smuggle heroin to inmates using barbacoa tacos. Robert Falcon, 48, went down after another deputy found a note in a jail cell with Falcon’s address on it that spelled out a smuggling strategy. A sting was set up in which $50 in marked bills, the taco ingredients and 4 grams of fake heroin were left on his doorstep. The fake drugs were recovered from his lunch bag when he arrived at work, according to court documents. He pleaded guilty in November to bringing drugs into a correctional facility, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Falcon is on suicide watch after he vowed to kill himself if not granted probation.

This Week’s Corrupt Cops Stories is a post from Cop Block - "Something must be done about vengeance, a badge, and a gun"

“Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams Should Be Arrested”

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

In March, CopBlock covered the story of Mark Fiorino and his encounter with the Philadelphia Police while he was open carrying.  I was going to write about the outrageous decision by District Attorney R. Seth Williams to charge Fiorino with reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct, but Radley Balko already wrote a great piece on the subject.  Here it is, from The Agitator:

I wanted to comment a bit more on the Mark Fiorino story that guest blogger Dave Kruger posted earlier this week, because it’s pretty goddamned outrageous.

Fiorino is the guy who was accosted by police officers in Philadelphia for openly carrying a gun in the city, despite the fact that he was perfectly within his legal rights to do so. He was in full compliance with the law. The problem is that the Philadelphia cops who confronted him were ignorant of the law. In the course of the confrontation, the cops repeatedly threatened to kill Fiorino, despite the fact that, again, he had broken no laws. They also illegally detained and arrested him. They then had to release him when they actually checked the law and discovered they were wrong.

When I’ve written about the arrests of citizens who record or photograph cops over the last couple years, I’ve repeatedly pointed out the double standard that exists when it comes to ignorance of the law. Citizens are expected to know every law. Break one, and you suffer the consequences. Ignorance is no defense, even when it comes to vague, obscure, or densely-written laws. But when law enforcement officials—the people we pay to enforce the criminal code—when they prove to be ignorant of the law, when they illegally detain, arrest, and jail someone based on a mistaken understanding of the law, they rarely if ever suffer any consequences.

The Fiorino case is a perfect example of that double standard. But the Fiorino case is even more pernicious. Because he’d had previous episodes with cops who were ignorant of local gun laws, Fiorino was carrying an audio recorder with him in Philadelphia. He recorded his confrontation with the Philly cops, and that audio exposed them for the ignorant, thuggish threats to the public that they are. (Note: I regularly caution against holding individual cops responsible for enforcing bad policy. I don’t use words like “ignorant” and “thuggish” lightly. These cops were both.) The recording Fiorino made of his encounter was also perfectly legal.

So what are we to then make of Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams’ decision to arrest and charge Fiorino after Fiorino posted the recordings on the Internet?

Here’s what I make of it: It’s criminal. Fiorino embarrassed Philadelphia cops, and Williams is punishing him for it. Williams and the police spokesman are claiming Fiorino deliberately provoked the cops. No, he didn’t. He didn’t wave the gun at anyone. He didn’t invite police scrutiny. The cops confronted him upon seeing a weapon he was legally carrying in a perfectly legal manner. And they were wrong. Make no mistake. This is blatant intimidation.

But while their behavior in this story was repugnant, at least the cops had the plausible explanation of ignorance for the initial confrontation, then fear for their safety when an armed man they incorrectly thought was violating the law pushed back (though neither is an excuse, and neither should exclude them from discipline). What Williams has done since is much worse. It is premeditated. Much more than the cops, Williams should know the law. Moreover, even if he didn’t know the law at the time, he has since had plenty of time to research it. By now, Williams  does know the law. (If he doesn’t, he is incompetent.) And he knows that even if Fiorino did deliberately provoke the cops to test their knowledge of Philadelphia’s gun laws, that also is not a crime.

Yet he’s charging Fiorino anyway, with “reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct”—the vague sorts of charges cops and prosecutors often fall back on when they can’t show any actual crime. A spokesperson for Williams said Fiorino was “”belligerent and hostile” to police who were investigating a possible crime. Read the transcript of the audio in the linked article above and tell me who is “belligerent and hostile.” Read it knowing who was breaking the law, who was following it, and while remaining cognizant of which party was threatening to put a bullet in the head of the other.

Note that nothing Fiorino did was on its own illegal. Willliams is attempting a striking, blatantly dishonest bit of legal chicanery. His theory goes like this:  If you undertake a series of actions that are perfectly legal and well within your rights, but that cause government agents to react in irrational ways that jeopardize public safety, you are guilty of endangering the public.

This can’t stand. It’s a blatant abuse of office. Williams is using the state’s awesome power to arrest and incarcerate to intimidate a man who exposed and embarrassed law enforcement officials who, because of their own ignorance, nearly killed him. Exposing that sort of government incompetence cannot be illegal. And it isn’t illegal.

The message Williams is sending is this: Yes, you might technically have the right to carry a gun in Philadelphia. But if you exercise that right, you should be prepared for the possibility that police officers will illegally stop you, detain you, threaten to kill you, and arrest you. And I’m not going to do a damn thing about it.  And yes, you may technically also have First Amendment rights in Philadelphia, but if you dare exercise them to let the larger public know what happened to you for exercising your right to carry a gun, I will try to put you in prison.

I’m not trying to be needlessly provocative, here. This is important. Prosecutors can’t get away with this kind of behavior. Even if the charges are eventually dropped, that isn’t enough. Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams should be arrested. And he should be charged with knowingly, criminally violating Mark Fiorino’s civil rights.

“Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams Should Be Arrested” is a post from Cop Block - "Something must be done about vengeance, a badge, and a gun"