Archive for the ‘Cops’ Category

Art (Acevedo), damn it! watch. (#V of a series)

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

The question of the day is: will we get to “Z” in the series?

Austin police Chief Art Acevedo is a finalist for the police chief of San Antonio Police Department.

(As a side note, I’ve always wondered what Sue Grafton’s going to do with Kinsey Millhone after she gets to “Z”. Two books to go.)

Quickies: August 13, 2015.

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Hugo Pinell died yesterday.

On August 21, 1971, Pinell, George Jackson, and several other inmates attempted to escape from San Quentin. Three inmates and three guards were killed in the attempt.

Pinell received a third life sentence for attacking two officers, slitting their throats, in that escape attempt, and had spent the majority of his time since then in solitary confinement and had participated in a 2013 statewide hunger strike protesting those conditions.

Pinell was killed by another prisoner during a riot.

Noted: Warren G. Harding apparently did father a child with his mistress, Nan Britton.

Also noted: VonTrey Clark was allegedly offering $5,000 for the murder of Samantha Dean. (Previously.)

My great and good friend Joe D. and I have had past discussions about death at the Grand Canyon and at Yosemite (although I can’t find them now). In that light, this is interesting: “Forget bears: Here’s what really kills people at national parks”.

Short version: if you do die at a national park, it will probably be a drowning or a car crash. But statistically, the odds are low that you will die at a national park.

Your Samantha Dean update: August 5, 2015.

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Our old friend, ex-APD officer VonTrey Clark (previously) is in custody in Indonesia.

Yes, I know: I quoted the news reports as stating that Indonesia does not have an extradition treaty with the US. But, according to the reports I’ve seen, Clark is currently being held by Indonesian authorities because his visa isn’t in order.

And in spite of the fact that there is no formal extradition treaty, Indonesia apparently is planning to return Clark to the United States.

“He was arrested last Friday by investigators in Bali,” the secretary of Interpol’s national central bureau for Indonesia, Brigadier-General Amhar Azeth, told AFP.
“He is wanted for murder.”

Art (Acevedo), damn it! watch. (#U of a series)

Friday, July 24th, 2015

The latest APD firing: Officer VonTrey Clark.

It seems unlikely that former officer Clark will be appealing his firing for two reasons:

1. He is allegedly in Indonesia. Thing I did not know: Indonesia does not have an extradition treaty with the US. Good to keep in mind…

2. Former officer Clark has bigger problems.

I haven’t written much about this for various reasons, including the lack of non-paywalled links and the fact that the story is just sad and awful. But I might as well try to summarize here.

A woman named Samantha Dean was killed in February. She worked in victim services for the Kyle PD and was seven months pregnant.

The police have been investigating her murder for months now. Apparently, they now believe her baby was the product of an affair with former officer Clark. Clark has not, to the best of my knowledge, been charged with any crime. What I’ve picked up so far is that investigators think Clark arranged for other associates of his to commit the murder, and I suspect that they’re trying to get at least one of those associates to roll.

In the meantime, APD fired Clark for “withholding information during an internal investigation and associating with known felons”.

Here are a couple of half-decent stories from local TV stations KEYE and KVUE. The KEYE story contains a lengthy response from Clark’s attorney: in case you were wondering, Chief Acevedo’s allegations are “slanderous” and consorting with known felons is a “trifling policy violation”.

Art (Acevedo), damn it! watch. (#T of a series)

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

You may recall Blayne Williams, the APD officer who was suing the department for not promoting him, even though he’d been suspended twice and fired once.

Officer Williams has been fired again. I apologize that I can’t find a non-paywalled Statesman link, but the first two paragraphs of the story and the “story highlights” I think convey the gist of the story.

Random notes: July 16, 2015.

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

The Birdman of Altiplano.

“There is already a significant problem every single weekend with widespread, out-of-control peeing,” Mr. Johnson, who represents much of Manhattan’s West Side, said.

(I love the “Citations for public urination” graphic that goes along with this article.)

I’m a little surprised this one hasn’t made FARK yet: local police find an unresponsive man in a car. He had bite marks on his wrist, and there was a non-venomous snake (and other animals) in the car. Man dies.

And it seems like his venomous cobra snake may be on the loose. (Hattip: Lawrence.)

(Huh. I didn’t realize that Frederick Forsyth won an Edgar for “There Are No Snakes in Ireland”. That’s not a bad story, but I like “The Emperor” from the same collection a little better.)

Edited to add:

Austin Animal Services is not actively searching for a missing monocle cobra that may have killed an 18-year-old Temple man on Tuesday.

You know what this means, folks. If Animal Services isn’t actively searching for it, it’s up to the rest of us to be on the lookout. Get that Taurus Judge out of the gun safe and load it up with snake shot! Fun for the whole family! At least, until someone gets bitten…

The monocled cobra causes the highest fatality due to snake venom poisoning in Thailand. Envenomation usually presents predominantly with extensive local necrosis and systemic manifestations to a lesser degree. Drowsiness, neurological and neuromuscular symptoms will usually manifest earliest; hypotension, flushing of the face, warm skin, and pain around bite site typically manifest within one to four hours following the bite; paralysis, ventilatory failure or death could ensue rapidly, possibly as early as 60 minutes in very severe cases of envenomation. However, the presence of fang marks does not always imply that envenomation actually occurred.

Edited to add 2:

Oh, thank God. They’re going to start an organized search. I was afraid they’d be engaging in a disorganized search.

(Hattp: the Austin Cobra Twitter. Hattip on the Austin Cobra Twitter to the great and good Joe D. in the comments.)

Notes from the legal beat: July 9, 2015.

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

It’s Baltimore, gentlemen. The gods will not save your job as police commissioner.

I’ve been sort of generally following the whole “illegal alien shoots woman on a pier” story, and there’s something I’m wondering about. Set aside for the moment the whole “five-time deportee” thing. Ignore the “gun belonged to a federal agent” thing.

The guy claims he was shooting at sea lions. So? Well, aren’t sea lions generally out to sea? Or at least in the water? Like at a 90 degree angle to the actual pier? Okay, maybe it wasn’t exactly 90 degrees; it could be 45 or 30. But my point is, the sea lions would be in the water; you’d have to swing the muzzle pretty far around to “accidentally” shoot someone on the pier. Then again, your average drug addict is probably not exactly well known for muzzle discipline.

(Edited to add: Mike the Musicologist informs me that they guy has changed his story: “the gun went off accidentally”. Three times.)

(Hattip to Tam on the shirts. I’m planning to order one soon.)

I’ve written previously about Kelly Siegler, the former Harris County prosecutor (famous for re-enacting a stabbing during a murder trial) who helped get Anthony Graves off of death row and Charles Sebesta disbarred for hiding exculpatory evidence. I’ve never met Ms. Siegler, but I’d like to: I have enormous respect for her role in the Graves/Sebesta case, and she’s another person that I’d enjoy having some good barbecue and a large orange with.

So this makes me a sad panda, but honesty requires me to note it:

A Beaumont judge who decided that David Mark Temple deserves a new trial in the 1999 slaying of his pregnant wife cited 36 instances of prosecutorial misconduct in his ruling, most of which are tied to legendary former Harris County prosecutor Kelly Siegler.

“Of enormous significance was the prosecutor’s testimony at the habeas hearing that apparently favorable evidence did not need to be disclosed if the state did not believe it was true,” Gist wrote.

For example, the judge noted, Siegler specifically called only a small number of the many investigators who worked the case to testify in the trial. By doing this, the prosecutor would not have to give the defense team any reports from the investigators who did not testify.

This does raise a question in my mind (and please remember that I Am Not A Lawyer): is the prosecution required to disclose all evidence, even evidence that they don’t believe to be true? Or that is clearly not true?

The “don’t believe to be true” is kind of slippery; I’d tend to think that simple “don’t believe it” isn’t enough to bar disclosure. But let us say that the DA investigator is interviewing someone who claims to be a witness to the murder. And let’s say that witness has spent the past 30 years marinating every one of his brain cells in pruno, Sterno, Thunderbird, and anything else he can get his hands on. And let’s say the witness tells the investigator, “Yes, I saw that man stab the victim. And then the UFO came down with a bunch of little green men, and the guy with the knife climbed on board the UFO, and then it took off again.” Is the prosecution required to give that statement to the defense?

(And, if they did, would any defense attorney actually use that statement in court?)

Art (Acevedo), damn it! watch. (#S of a series)

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

Blayne Williams is an officer with the Austin Police Department.

Officer Williams has what might be called a “colorful” history. He was fired in October of 2013 after an incident at a local hotel. Last November, the arbitrator overturned Williams’ firing, reducing it to a 15-day suspension.

Previously, in 2011, Officer Williams was suspended for 90 days after he got into a physical altercation with an HEB employee while he was off duty. He was also charged with “assault on an elderly person”, but that charge was dismissed “and eventually wiped from his record after he completed probation and had the charge expunged”.

The hook now is that Officer Williams is suing. Why? He claims the police department “wrongly passed him up for promotion”. Yes, I kid you not: a guy who has been suspended twice in four years and was almost fired is claiming he should have been promoted to either corporal or detective.

Oh, by the way: in addition to his suit against the city, Officer Williams already has a lawsuit pending in federal court, claiming his firing over the cellphone incident was in retaliation for discrimination claims he’d filed previously.

Hand to God, people, I don’t make this stuff up.

Art (Acevedo), damn it! watch. (#R of a series)

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

I would have sworn that I wrote about APD lieutenant Jason Disher back in October, but I can’t find it now. This one may have gotten past me.

Anyway, Lt. Disher was having an affair with a woman who was married. This was a long lasting affair: Disher told a detective “eight or nine years”. At some point, according to Disher, the woman’s husband “started harassing him and making threatening phone calls”. The detective issued an arrest warrant for the husband.

The woman Disher was having the affair with later came forward and said Disher’s claims that led to the warrant were false. There was an investigation, and Disher was fired.

Old news? Not so fast; if you’ve been hanging around here long enough, you can guess what happened next.

Yes! The arbitrator overturned Disher’s firing! The Statesman doesn’t go into detail on the reasons, and I hesitate to speculate. But isn’t it interesting…

Disher told investigators he was aware that some of the information in the husband’s arrest affidavit was not true, but he made no effort to have it corrected.

Well, isn’t THIS a shocker?

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Don Carlos Mexican Restaurant is suing Twin Peaks’ ownership company for damages related to the deadly biker gang shootout that left nine dead and 18 others wounded.

Also:

Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton now says crime scene officers have made a new weapons count and come up with 318 “and still counting.” Swanton said he expected the count to continue to rise.
Of those weapons counted so far, 118 are handguns, one is an AK-47 assault-style rifle and 157 are knives. Swanton says weapons still uncounted are clubs, knives, brass knuckles, firearms and chains with padlocks attached.

Yes, 118 plus one plus 157 does not add up to 318.

Random notes: May 18, 2015.

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Lawrence has been on the Waco biker gang shootout like a fat man on a Chinese buffet. I’d encourage you to go here and here for coverage. (I was out and about with friends pretty much all day yesterday, which is why I’m running behind.)

A few random thoughts:

  • Before yesterday, I couldn’t have named five biker gangs; my knowledge pretty much stopped with the Hells Angels, Bandidos, and Mongols (the latter because of their trademark battle). Not that I’m proud of my ignorance or anything, just saying.
  • A lot of yesterday’s stories included some variation on “Twin Peaks corporate office was unavailable for comment”. Of course; it was a Sunday. But I figure there’s got to be a 24/7 emergency number for franchise owners to call…

    “Thank you for calling the Twin Peaks hotline. If you have an emergency, press 1.”

    “Thank you. If your restaurant is on fire, press 1. If your restaurant is flooding, press 2. If there is a shootout between rival biker gangs going on, press 3. If someone is committing an act of regicide, press 4.”

    You have selected regicide. If you know the name of the king or queen being murdered, press one.

  • Speaking of Twin Peaks corporate, Lawrence quotes: “Twin Peaks corporate “is ‘seriously considering revoking’ the Waco location’s franchise agreement.” Gee, you don’t say. (As I was writing this post, the Statesman reported that the franchise has, indeed, been yanked.)
  • “”We are horrified by the criminal, violent acts that occurred outside of our Waco restaurant today.” Shocked, shocked we are to find out that biker gangs used our restaurant as a meeting place. (I know it is early and I’m relying on news media coverage, but it seems pretty well established at this point that this was a biker hangout, and that the management knew it.)
  • Not only did they shoot up Twin Peaks, they walked the check at Denny’s and were rude to the Hooters girls. “They come in here all the time. I’ll keep waiting on them because that is my job. But this whole thing is just so crazy. And it’s also disrespectful, because of lot of those girls at Twin Peaks used to work here.”
  • Seriously, I feel bad for the Twin Peaks and Don Carlos staff, who are probably going to lose at least several days of pay (if not their jobs) over this. Twin Peaks had their liquor license yanked temporarily, though the reports I’ve read say they can reopen as a restaurant “as soon as police allow it to be opened”.

Obit watch: Garo Yepremian, legendary Miami Dolphins kicker.

A while back, I linked to a NYT story about the Clif Bar people ending their sponsorships of certain athletes because of their discomfort with the risk involved. One of those athletes, Dean Potter, was quoted in the article.

Dean Potter was killed in a BASE jumping accident over the weekend.

Penn Jillette on the closing of the Riveria. The Riveria was actually the first place I ever stayed in Vegas.

Finally, and on a lighter note, the NYT ran an interview with Don Rickles. The news peg is that the complete “CPO Sharkey” is being released on DVD Tuesday. I had actually completely forgotten the existence of “CPO Sharkey” (though I’m sure I watched it) until the paper of record reminded me. Man, it is hard getting old.

Edited to add: Well. Well well well. Well.

The Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco will be permanently closed as a result of Sunday’s deadly shooting.

Quel fromage! I wonder what they’re going to replace it with. Maybe a Bikinis? Or perhaps a Bombshells? Wait, wait, I know: perhaps someplace good? Or at least not degrading to women?

Notes from the legal beat: May 15, 2015.

Friday, May 15th, 2015

Latest update from the Philadelphia PD (previously on WCD):

Six ex-narcotics officers accused of going rogue and robbing suspected drug dealers during a six-year reign of terror walked out of federal court yesterday as free men after a jury acquitted them of all charges at the end of a six-week trial.

Among the evidence prosecutors used against the ex-cops was testimony from another former narc cop, Jeffrey Walker, who began to cooperate with investigators after he was caught stealing money and drugs from a house in May 2013. Numerous suspected drug dealers had also testified that the officers threatened them, roughed them up and stole from them. One said he’d been kidnapped and held in a hotel by the cops.

In totallly unrelated news, the WP has an interesting article on PappyGate.

“People don’t want to do the work to find what’s the best whiskey on their palate. They want to be told,” said Lew Bryson, author of the book “Tasting Whiskey.” “Here’s somebody saying this one is the best, and everyone tries to get it. And prices just go up and up.”