Archive for the ‘Cops’ Category

Accordion Crimes.

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Since the topic of accordions has come up several times in the past few days, I feel like I have to link to Popehat’s “A Story About Low-Key Policing and Corduroy“.

If you want to be unpleasantly technical I am not familiar with how an accordion is operated, at least as narrowly defined by uncharitable social convention. However, I believe that unbridled enthusiasm can make up for lack of formal training in many pursuits. There is evidently a difference of popular opinion on this point as it pertains to playing the accordion on a roof at one in the morning.

Also, posting this gives me a chance to test the “Save Draft” function. Yes, Lawrence, it works for me.

(Subject line hattip. It seemed appropriate at the time. Actually, I may have to read that book after I finish The Power Broker.)

NYPD Blues.

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014
  1. James E. Griffin, a former NYPD detective, settled his lawsuit against the department for $280,000. In 2005, Mr. Griffin reported what he believed was misconduct by a fellow detective to Internal Affairs: “…he had found the word “rat” scrawled on his locker and that other detectives in the 83rd Precinct’s detective squad in Bushwick refused to work with him. Although he switched units a couple of times, the reputation followed him; he was ostracized in each new unit, he claimed.
  2. Jonathan Fleming was released from prison yesterday. In 1989, he was sentenced to 25 years to life on a murder charge. It turns out that the Brooklyn DAs office failed to turn over evidence to the defense, including a receipt that proved Mr. Fleming was actually in Florida shortly before the murder.
  3. Speaking of the Brooklyn DA’s office, “A review of homicide convictions stemming from the work of Louis Scarcella, a Brooklyn detective accused of framing suspects, has turned up a stash of old handwritten police notes that could exonerate two men convicted of a murder in 1985. One of the men served 21 years in prison; the other died behind bars.
    More: “…two previously undisclosed eyewitnesses saw the September 1985 killing of a man named Ronnie Durant, but they named killers different from the two men who were convicted. The notebook could have affected the verdict; not turning it over to defense lawyers decades ago is a serious violation of the rules of criminal procedure, experts said.

Edited to add: In the interest of fairness: NYPD Officer Dennis Guerra died this morning as a result of injuries he sustained during a fire on Sunday.

Officer Guerra, 38, and his partner, Officer Rosa Rodriguez, 36, had been on regular patrol in the public housing developments of Coney Island on Sunday when they responded to a 911 call of a fire in an apartment tower at 2007 Surf Avenue around 12:30 p.m.
They took an elevator straight to the floor and, when the doors opened, were immediately overwhelmed by noxious smoke. The officers collapsed unconscious in the hallway by the elevator where they were found by arriving firefighters.

Banana republicans watch: April 8, 2014.

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Samuel In used to be a building inspector in LA.

Samuel In pled guilty to taking $30,000 in bribes while on the job. Samuel In is now serving a 2 1/2 year federal prison sentence.

Samuel In is receiving, and will continue to receive, a $72,000 yearly pension.

Two years ago, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a measure requiring public employees convicted of a felony to give up retirement benefits earned during the period when their crimes were committed.
But the forfeiture requirement doesn’t apply to Los Angeles because it is governed by the City Council under a voter-approved charter, and the City Council manages its own pension systems.

And:

On top of his $6,030-per-month pension, In receives a monthly healthcare subsidy of $1,459, said Tom Moutes, the top executive at the City Employees’ Retirement System.

Also on FARK, but noted here for the record: Antenna Gate.

With a total of about 160 antennas installed in Southeast Division vehicles, 72 had been removed, Smith said. Twenty antennas from cars in other divisions were missing as well.

Gee, Officer Krupke, if you have nothing to hide, why are you afraid of being recorded?

Rock rock baby baby.

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Not much going on, but I wanted to drop this in.

The head of the U.S. Border Patrol announced new rules Friday to limit agents from shooting at moving vehicles or people throwing rocks or other objects at agents, reversing a controversial policy that has led to at least 19 deaths.

And this:

1a) Never throw shit at an armed man.
1b) Never stand next to someone who is throwing shit at an armed man.

Banana republicans watch: February 27, 2014.

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Somebody has been looking very closely at California police departments.

Five San Francisco police officers and a former officer have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges including extortion, dealing drugs, stealing computers and other property from suspects and searching residential hotels without legal justification.

The criminal indictments appear to be a result of this series of events:

Officers Arshad Razzak, 41, Richard Yick, 36, and Raul Eric Elias, 44, all formerly assigned to the Southern police station at the city’s Hall of Justice, are accused of conspiring to threaten and intimidate residents of single-room occupancy hotel rooms by entering them without legal justification by using a master key.

Razzak and Yick are also accused of falsifying incident reports.

Sgt. Ian Furminger, 47, Officer Edmond Robles, 46, and former Officer Reynaldo Vargas, 45, of Palm Desert, engaged in “multiple criminal conspiracies,” including dealing marijuana, stealing money, a $500 Apple gift card, and other items from suspects, and stealing money, drugs and other valuable items that were seized on behalf of the city, the indictment said.

Other high points:

You come at the King (City), you best not miss.

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

The LAT has a second-day story on the King City PD arrests, noted in this space yesterday.

There are several interesting new aspects to the story:

Banana republicans watch: February 25, 2014.

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

A top Monterey County prosecutor confirmed Tuesday that a group of former and current King City police officials — including the longtime former chief and acting chief — have been arrested in connection with a district attorney’s investigation.

Former chief Chief Nick Baldiviez is being charged with embezzlement. Bruce Miller, who was serving as the acting chief, is charged with bribery. Bobby Carrillo, who was a sergeant with the King City PD, is charged with “conspiracy to commit a crime and bribery by a public officer”. Officer Mario Mottu Sr. is charged with “embezzlement by a public official”. Officer Jaime Andrade was also charged, but the charges against him are not stated, and it is unclear if he has been arrested. There are also claims that a sixth officer, who has not been named, is also charged. The King City PD, according to the LAT, has 17 officers.

I’m trying to find information from sources closer to King City, but neither of the San Francisco newspapers seem to have anything. (King City is a little south of Salinas, putting it closer to SF than LA.)

However, I did turn up this story that I’d previously missed: Stephen Tanabe is going to serve 15 months of federal time. Tanabe was a deputy with the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department: he was convicted of “multiple felonies including conspiracy and extortion” in the “Dirty DUI” case, which I have written about previously.

And another bulletin from Bizarro world.

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

Missed this until the NYT picked it up today: Steven Mandell was convicted on Friday of one set of charges relating to a kidnapping plot.

Specifically, Mandell was convicted of plotting to

…kidnap a Riverside, Ill., businessman, and then torture and extort money from him. He planned to kill and dismember him in an office that Mr. Mandell and an accomplice had equipped with saws and a sink in which to drain their victim’s blood, the authorities said.

Apparently, Mandell and his accomplice wanted the businessman to turn over ownership of 25 buildings to them.

What’s so odd about this? Well…

1. Mandell was actually acquitted on a second set of charges; the claim was that he intended to kill another businessman, along with that guy’s wife, so he could get control of their strip club. The strip club was reportedly “mob connected”.
2. Keeping with our theme for the day, Mandell’s supposed accomplice killed himself in jail before the trial.
3. Mandell was a former officer with the Chicago Police Department. No, really, I am not making this up. He served for 10 years and left the force in 1983.
4. So why am I not making “only ones” jokes or suggesting the CPD needs adult supervision? (It does, but not because of Mandell.) Because Mandell’s history since 1983 has been “colorful”.

Formerly known as Steven Manning, he was convicted in 1992 for his role in the 1984 kidnapping of two reputed Kansas City drug traffickers and was sentenced to two life terms plus 100 years. He was cleared of those charges on appeal, and in 2005, he was awarded more than $6.5 million in damages by a federal jury that determined that two F.B.I. agents had framed him. A federal judge threw out the award in 2006.

Framed by the F.B.I. But wait, the story gets even better!

In 1993, Mandell was convicted of murdering Jimmy Pellegrino in 1990. Pellegrino owned a trucking company, and was allegedly murdered by Mandell as part of a drug deal, according to an informant with Mafia ties.

Mandell spent eight years on death row. And I bet you know what happened next: that’s right, the conviction was overturned on appeal, and Mandell walked in that case as well. (That KansasCity.com link has some more background on why both of these convictions were thrown out. And Mandell’s supposed accomplice in the current case? The one who killed himself in jail? He was also convicted in the KC kidnapping, and also had his conviction overturned on appeal, based in large part on the evidence Mandell collected in his civil case.)

So I’m avoiding cop snark in general here, and CPD snark in particular, because I don’t know what to make of this. It seems like there’s two possibilities: Mandell is a really bad guy who got lucky twice in having his convictions thrown out. Or somebody in law enforcement has a real problem with Mandell, has gone after him three times, lost twice (“Jurors also found that the investigators encouraged perjury, fabricated evidence, and concealed those facts from Clay County prosecutors.“), and now they have at least a temporary victory. It’ll be interesting to see if this holds up.

(I suppose there is a third possibility: why not both? But if Mandell really is such a bad guy, why did law enforcement need to fabricate evidence against him?)

It will also be interesting to read the true-crime book that I’m sure someone is writing about this case.

My humps, my humps…

Friday, February 14th, 2014

A camel that escaped from a Palmdale property and began charging people and cars is now in the custody of animal control officials.

Thoughts:

1. I admit I’ve written some bad Perl code. But I don’t recall writing any that ran away. SQL queries, yes, but not Perl code.
2. “Runaway Camel” sort of sounds like a stunt organized by those truth jackasses.
3. I have a “primates” tag; do I need a “mammals” tag?

Edited to add: I think I do need a “mammals” tag, and an associated “camels” tag. But even though primates are mammals, I don’t feel right moving the “primates” tag under the “mammals” tag, so I’m keeping them separate for now.

The LAPD eight.

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

A brief followup:

Eight Los Angeles police officers who violated department policy when they mistakenly opened fire on two women during the hunt for Christopher Dorner will be retrained and returned to the field, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said in a department-wide message Wednesday.

More:

“While I understand supervisors and officers were required to make split-second decisions regarding the perceived threat presented before them I found it to be very concerning that officers fired before adequately identifying a threat; fired without adequately identifying a target and not adequately evaluating cross fire situations,” Beck said.

And:

If Beck does discipline the officers, the penalties are expected to be warnings, written admonishments or similarly light punishments, the sources said.

From the files of Captain Obvious.

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck has found that eight officers who opened fire on two women in a pickup truck during a search for Christopher Dorner violated the department’s policy on using deadly force, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the case.

You do remember the pickup truck story, don’t you?

As the vehicle approached the house, officers opened fire, unloading a barrage of bullets into the truck. When the shooting stopped, they realized their mistake. The truck was a different make and model. The color wasn’t gray, as Dorner’s was, but blue. And it wasn’t Dorner inside the truck, but a woman and her mother delivering copies of the Los Angeles Times.

And, of course, the unarmed women never fired on the cops or displayed a weapon…

This is priceless:

A panel of high-ranking police officials that reviewed the shooting urged Beck to clear the officers of wrongdoing, said the sources, who spoke on the condition that their names not be used because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the case.

They shot up a pickup truck with two unarmed women in it, and “high-ranking police officials” wanted them cleared?

Quickie followup.

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

A while back, I wrote about the strange case of Brian Mulligan, who may (or may not) have been high on “bath salts” and may (or may not) have been assaulted by the LAPD, but was definitely suing the department.

Well, the case went to trial, and…

the jury found for the LAPD.

Not sure I have any feelings about this one way or the other; I was pretty skeptical about both sides and their respective stories. But I did want to make note of the verdict if, for no other reason, than the historical record.