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Suspended IMPD Officer David Bisard charged with drunken driving after weekend crash

INDIANAPOLIS - Suspended Indianapolis police Officer David Bisard was charged Monday with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 grams or greater after a weekend crash.
A blood draw taken at Wishard Memorial Hospital in the aftermath of a crash Saturday indicated that Bisard's blood-alcohol content level was 0.22 percent, nearly three times the legal limit.
Bisard crashed into a guardrail and utility pole near his home on Saturday afternoon. Prosecutors said an open bottle of vodka was found in his truck.
In 2010, Bisard was on duty when his police car plowed into a group of motorcyclists, killing Eric Wells, 30 and injuring two more people.
That case was moved to Allen County because of pre-trial publicity, and a trial date was set for October. Bisard had been out of jail on bond in that case.
Prosecutors are pushing to keep Bisard in jail, seeking to get his bond in the 2010 arrest revoked.
The request was faxed to the Allen County Prosecutor's Office and was expected to be taken to a judge Monday afternoon.
An initial hearing in the new case is set for May 1.
Ralph Staples, a former Marion County prosecutor who is not involved in the Bisard case, said he's not sure the latest arrest will impact the ongoing trial.
"Personally, for him, its a very big deal. In terms of the prosecution, it will have minimal impact on the older case, unless the state can find a way to get the into evidence before a jury up north," Staples said.
The Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police said in a statement Monday that Bisard would not receive legal assistance from the union in connection with the latest incident. The FOP Executive Board will also review what impact the crash may have on any previous obligations the FOP has with Bisard as a union member.

Pretrial Hearings Begin Monday For Meriden Officer Charged With Brutality Defense Motion Filed To Keep Video Out Of Evidence

Pretrial hearings will begin Monday for a Meriden police officer charged with police brutality.
The charges against Evan Cossette, 25, stem from a May 2010 video that shows him pushing a handcuffed prisoner backward into a holding cell, causing the prisoner to fall and injure his head. Cossette's attorney is trying to keep the video from being used as evidence at the trial.
Cossette, the son of Meriden Chief Jeffry Cossette, is charged with using unreasonable force and obstruction of justice, and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
The video came to light after fellow officers Brian Sullivan and Donald Huston wrote a letter to city officials claiming Cossette was receiving preferential treatment within the department because of nepotism.
The video shows Evan Cossette pushing prisoner Pedro Temich, who falls and hits his head on a concrete bench. The indictment calls Cossette's action a "firm shove."
Temich, who was knocked unconscious by the fall, was taken to MidState Medical Center in Meriden and given 12 stitches in the back of his head. He had been arrested after fighting with officers who responded to a party; he was found to have a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit.
A number of motions have been filed in the case, including the motion to suppress the video, Cossette's attorney Raymond Hassett said.
There are "questions as to the video's integrity," he said. Contradictory evidence shows the video may not be complete, he said.
All of the motions filed, including a motion to dismiss the charges and motions to limit witness testimony, will be heard in U.S. District Court on Monday, Hassett said.
Cossette is on paid administrative leave from the department pending the outcome of the case.

Lawyer fears gang tied to alleged police corruption is out on streets

An attorney involved in the federal police corruption case is raising concerns about why investigators have not arrested the gang members that police officers are accused of protecting.

In February, investigators charged 10 former and current police officers with protecting alleged drug dealers. An attorney involved in the case told Channel 2's Rachel Stockman the public should be worried.

Stockman reviewed a 46-page transcript from a hearing about the case at federal court. It raises some alarming questions about ongoing gang activity in the metro Atlanta community.

In February, Channel 2 showed exclusive video of FBI agents taking police officers into custody. The cops are accused of providing protection for gang members during drug deals. Meanwhile, Stockman is trying to find out what happened to those gang members they were supposedly protecting.

"I think that the public should be totally outraged," said criminal defense attorney Steve Sadow.

Channel 2 has been asked not to identify the gang for public safety reasons. But Sadow said its members are still out on the streets and may very well be still operating. He represents one of the defendants.

Stockman asked what evidence did he have to determine that gang members are still involved in drug trafficking.

"I have a witness and I have photos," he said.

Sadow said the gang is one of the largest suppliers of molly, a potent form of the drug Ecstasy.

A source with Atlanta police confirms that there has been activity by this gang as recently as this month.

"Bringing a case against 10 or more corrupt -- and I'm putting that in quotes -- (officers) is heck of a lot better for publicity than saying we took down another drug gang," Sadow said.

At the time of the charges, U.S. Attorney Sally Yates said the investigation was ongoing.

"If we come back next year, it will be we are still investigating. If we come back in 2015 it'll still be we're investigating. If there was any intention of ending the drug dealing, they would have done it already," Sadow said.

U.S attorney's office officials said they have no further comment on this matter.

Tenth plaintiff seeks to join wrongful arrest lawsuit against former Louisville detective

A tenth plaintiff has joined a lawsuit against former Louisville Metro Police Detective Crystal Marlowe and former Chief Robert White, claiming he was wrongfully charged with a crime he could not have committed.
Dale Todd joined a lawsuit Monday with nine other people who allege Marlowe lied in court or coerced false identifications from witnesses, leading to their wrongful arrests.
In January 2011, White fired Marlowe after concluding her "blatant disregard" for rules had discredited the department and led police to charge the wrong people. She has filed an appeal with the Police Merit Board.
According to an internal investigation of Marlowe, she influenced a witness into picking Todd out of a photo lineup as the man who assaulted him in October 2009 because she believed he was responsible for the crime.
After the victim said he was more than 50 percent sure Todd was one of the attackers, Marlowe asked him how much more certain he was, according to an audio of the interview police reviewed. The victim, according to police, said maybe he was 70 percent sure and Marlowe then said he was 75 percent positive and had him sign a form indicating that he had identified Todd.
However, Todd, a juvenile at the time, could not have committed the assault because he was in the Louisville Metro Youth Center on another charge when the attack occurred. Police found Marlowe had violated eight counts of standard operating procedure in the case.
“We think that his case is a perfect example of Detective Marlowe’s conduct throughout her tenure with LMPD,” said Ryan Vantrease, an attorney for all 10 plaintiffs.
Vantrease said Todd can join the 3-year-old lawsuit because the one-year statute of limitations did not start until he turned 18.
The charges against Todd were dismissed once it became apparent he had an alibi.
Depositions have been taken in the lawsuit but the city has made a motion for summary judgment, alleging they are immune from being sued. The motion is pending.
Claims made in filing a lawsuit present only one side of a case.
Mary Sharp, who represented Marlowe during her merit board hearing, did not return a call for comment. Sharp has called Marlowe "one of the best officers I've ever represented." Marlowe has repeatedly told The Courier-Journal not to contact her, saying she would not speak with reporters.
The newspaper reported in February 2010 that Marlowe had accused more than a dozen defendants, many of them juveniles, of crimes they did not commit.
The newspaper found some defendants could not have been guilty of the offenses with which they were charged because they were in jail or had other evidence of their innocence. In other cases, Marlowe arrested suspects based on identifications that victims later said they never made.
The Jefferson County commonwealth's attorney's office concluded there was insufficient evidence that Marlowe committed any crime.
The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages as well as a trial by jury.

NYPD whistle-blowers testify at stop-frisk trial

NEW YORK (AP) — After Officer Pedro Serrano decided to testify in federal court about what he sees as wrongdoing within the New York Police Department, a rat sticker appeared on his locker.
That was the least of his problems.
Serrano claims he's been harassed, micromanaged and eventually transferred to a different precinct and put on the overnight shift.
"It hasn't been a picnic," he said in an interview this week. "They have their methods of dealing with someone like me."
Serrano and other whistle-blowers took the stand in a civil rights case challenging some of the 5 million streets stops made by police in the past decade using a tactic known as stop and frisk. They believe illegal quotas are behind some wrongful stops of black and Hispanic men.
"A lot of people told me not to come forward because of what would happen — they said the department would come after me," Serrano said. "But I've been thinking about it since 2007. I felt I couldn't keep quiet."
Several other officers and police brass testified to the opposite: They say there are no quotas. Most officers follow the letter of the law, and low-performing cops like Serrano are lazy malcontents who make the city less safe.
Under NYPD policy, officers are required to report corruption without fear of retribution to the internal affairs bureau, which investigates the claims.
But starting with legendary whistle-blower Frank Serpico in the 1970s, corruption scandals large and small have exposed a clannish culture that critics say encourages police officers to turn a blind eye to wrongdoing and never question authority — or else face harassment by peers and punishment by superiors.
As a plainclothes officer, Serpico was labeled a traitor for refusing payoffs and reporting corruption. On Feb. 3, 1971, he was shot in the face during a drug raid; he says other officers purposely failed to back him up. He recovered and testified before the Knapp Commission — a story etched in popular culture by a hit movie starring Al Pacino.
In the early 1990s, an internal affairs investigator who pursued drug-dealing officers was blackballed by his commanders before an independent investigation by the Mollen Commission proved him right. And the 1997 police assault of Abner Louima resulted in charges against officers who kept quiet because of a so-called blue wall of silence — an unspoken code among the rank-and-file to never "rat" on each other.
"Nothing's changed," the 76-year-old Serpico said in a recent phone interview when asked about the current crop of whistle-blowers. "It's the same old crap — kill the messenger."
In the ongoing federal trial over stop and frisk, lawyers for men who have sued police are seeking to show a disproportionate number of black and Hispanic men are being wrongly stopped in part because officers are under too much pressure to keep enforcement numbers up.
Serrano, along with Officers Adhyl Polanco and Adrian Schoolcraft secretly recorded hours of patrol briefings, meetings with bosses and encounters on the streets that they say show they were being targeted by overzealous officials bent on making their precincts look good. The recordings were played at trial.
Both Serrano and Polanco said they made stops they didn't think were right as a result.
"I was extremely bothered with what I was seeing out there," Polanco testified. "The racial profiling, the arresting people for no reason, being called to scenes that I did not observe a violation and being forced to write a summons that I didn't observe."
Polanco said he agonized over the decision to come forward.
"I was afraid," he said. "It's not that easy to report corruption. ... Look at what happened to Schoolcraft."
Schoolcraft, who didn't appear in court because he has filed his own federal suit, was taken to a psychiatric ward in 2009 by his superiors, he says against his will. He remains suspended.
Polanco was suspended with pay for years after internal affairs officers brought charges of filing false arrest paperwork; he says the charges came because he detailed a list of complaints to internal affairs.
Serrano testified that he received poor evaluations, was denied vacation days and was forced to work overtime as punishment because he tallied too few arrests and stop-and-frisk reports.
"There's a whole bunch of things they do, but they're minor," Serrano said. "But when you put it all together, it becomes a hostile work environment."
For example, he says, he never saw his commanding officer until word got out about his quota allegations — then the official was personally checking Serrano's shift paperwork. He says he was forced to drive around with a sergeant and issue summonses and stop people until he brought up his numbers. Even after his numbers improved, his evaluations didn't. And he claimed he was forced to come in during a massive snowstorm even though he was nearly in a car accident.
When asked whether Serrano's complaints were considered punishment, several other officers who testified said no — it's just part of the job.
Most officers "leave their house every day to go to work to protect the city. They have the best intentions all the time, and they do it," Joseph Esposito, the former chief of the department, testified. "There is a small percentage ... we're talking about in any profession, there is a group that will try to do the least amount and get paid the most."
After Serrano appeared in court last month, he was transferred from the Bronx to a Manhattan precinct where he now works the midnight shift.
Serpico, who adopted a pet rat after he was accused of being one, says he holds the bosses responsible.
"Their message is 'Do you want to write a summons or do you want to be delivering pizza? As a police officer, you're duty-bound to refuse an illegal order. ... But where do you go? The police department doesn't want to hear it."
Serpico, who now lives in upstate New York, still feels like an outsider to the police. He says he's there to listen when fellow whistle-blowers reach out.
"I've become their grandfather," he said. "They don't want nothing. They just want somebody who knows what they're going through. I give them moral support."

Former Miami police officer sentenced in federal court for taking hundreds in bribes

MIAMI — A former Miami police officer was sentenced Tuesday to just over a year in federal prison for accepting hundreds of dollars in bribes as a police officer to protect a check-cashing business.
U.S. District Judge Robert Scola sentenced Harold James, 29, to one year and three months. Prosecutors had recommended a year and a half, citing a February plea agreement, prompt admission of guilt and cooperation with investigators.
James pleaded for leniency and understanding at his hearing, explaining that he made a stupid mistake.
"If anybody asked me for the shirt off my back, I gave it to them," James told the judge. "Church and work, that's all I do."
Scola reminded the eight-year veteran that some people in the community have a hard time believing police officers because of the wrongdoing of cops like James and others.
"It seems the City of Miami Police Department has a culture of corruption that exceeds all other police departments," Scola said to James. "You threw away your career for chump change — $800."
Authorities say James, who had resigned in November, was targeted by a fellow police officer, Nathaniel Dauphin, who began working for the FBI after being implicated in a Liberty City sports gambling last year.
The Miami Herald (http://hrld.us/ZLe3a0 ) reports that James and Dauphin are among 11 Miami police officers facing federal criminal charges or internal discipline related to the gambling protection scheme and other criminal activities.

City of Thorns: Despite reforms, Pasadena police still face controversy

PASADENA -- Two decades ago, a trio of Pasadena gang members stunned the City of Roses by gunning down six boys trick-or-treating, killing three and injuring three others on a night now known as the Halloween Massacre.
Now, after a 20-year police crackdown against gangs in one of Southern California's most regal cities, the tide has turned, with crime at modern historic lows.
But instead of celebrating a hard-won victory, Pasadena police are themselves accused of kidnapping, beating and threatening to kill witnesses, withholding evidence in trials, attempting to bribe attorneys, wrongly shooting unarmed residents and a litany of civil rights abuses in their war against gangs and thugs.
"It's gotten out of hand," said Joe Brown, former head of the city's NAACP branch, who has been tracking cases within the black community. "The problem is a lack of appropriate training and community policing.
"Some officers have used some of the most egregious tactics in police investigative work."
Law enforcement agencies from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the county Alternate Public Defender and Office of Independent Review and the Pasadena police internal affairs unit are expected to soon release the results of various police misconduct investigations.
In February, Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard and Police Chief Phillip Sanchez also called for a comprehensive independent audit of cases within the Detective Bureau.
"Chief Sanchez has worked diligently since his appointment in 2010 to further changes within the department's policies, procedures and protocol to enhance accountability," Bogaard said in a statement. "While those efforts continue, we must also ensure that the residents of Pasadena have confidence in our police department."
The city has long trumpeted its historic Tournament of Roses parade, 99 years of Rose Bowl kickoffs, its old-money mansions and some of the richest civic, scientific, architectural and cultural landmarks in Southern California.
But now the city's pristine image is marred by the acts of a few.
Despite a commercial renaissance of its historic downtown and creeping gentrification of its century-old bungalow neighborhoods, some say numerous gangs - from the Pasadena Denver Lanes Bloods to the Latin Kings to the Altadena Block Crips - still prey upon whole communities.
Police have responded in force - and with perfect success in solving every murder since 2008 and attaining one of the lowest violent crime rates in decades. Serious crimes from car thefts to armed robbery to rape and murder fell from more than 9,700 in 1993 to 5,300 a decade ago, in line with a national decline in crime. Last year, such crimes dipped below 4,000 for the first time in five years.
The average of nearly 20 murders a year two decades ago has plummeted to between four and six a year over the last five years, according to city records.
But in getting there, some say police have crossed moral, ethical and legal battle lines, according to numerous police department complaints, civil rights lawsuits, Superior Court judges and local community activists. Multiple allegations of police misconduct are now subject to a web of internal police, county and federal law enforcement agency probes.
Some of the more straightforward allegations include:
·  Gunning down an unarmed black college student who police officers believed was reaching for a gun, igniting protests from Pasadena to Los Angeles.
·  Firing multiple times at a black city utility worker's truck after the worker fires a warning shot to ward off a threatening gang member. Police filled his truck and the surrounding neighborhood with bullets.
·  Dragging a witness from his home to police headquarters, then assaulting him to coerce false statements.
The embattled police chief, meanwhile, has hired a private firm to examine the inner workings of his department. This includes every case handled by two cops admonished by a state judge in February after declaring a mistrial in a 2007 murder case because of "egregious" police misconduct.
While one of the officers allegedly threatened to charge a witness as an accessory to murder and hand her daughter over to the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services if she didn't recant her testimony, another offered to pay her $6,450 in "relocation expenses" when she finally did. Police officials say the woman was legitimately placed in a witness protection program.
One of the cops even said in court he didn't know he was bound by law to hand over evidence that might vindicate the accused.
"Does he think I'm a turnip farmer and I fell off my truck on the way to the market?" said Superior Court Judge Larry P. Fidler, who had presided over the Phil Spector trial, after declaring Officer Kevin Okamoto and Detective William Broghamer committed "misconduct."
Okamoto has been placed on paid leave. Broghamer has been assigned to a desk job.
Sanchez says he's doing everything possible to investigate the allegations of misconduct levelled at just a few of his 240 sworn officers. He denies any racial profiling within a department mostly supervised by black and Latino officers. He says the cops' actions have been grossly mischaracterized by defense attorneys involved in a handful of police cases.
"If there are allegations of misconduct, I'm going to investigate them in a timely manner," said Sanchez, who joined the Pasadena Police Department three years ago, vowing to make it more transparent. "Pasadena police officers aren't perfect. They make mistakes.
"We have a robust internal affairs (unit) that investigates every allegation."
Controversy over Pasadena police misconduct flared up a year ago with the shooting of an unarmed black teen on the city's gang-ridden northwest side.
A year ago this month, a hundred demonstrators packed the steps of Pasadena's resplendent City Hall to demand justice for Kendrec "Mac" McDade, who was fatally shot by police in March 2012. Protesters also marched in downtown Los Angeles, while hundreds more filled an L.A. church where civil rights leaders Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton called for an end to racial profiling in Pasadena and other cities across the nation.
Their beef: That two officers responding to a bogus 9-1-1 armed robbery call had gunned down the 19-year-old football standout when he appeared to reach for his waistband after dark. The cops, fearing the young man had a gun, opened fire and killed him. The teen turned out to be unarmed.
"Why did they shoot me?" McDade reportedly said as he lay dying.
Since then, the District Attorney's Office and the Pasadena city prosecutor have declined to file charges against anyone involved in the case, including the undocumented immigrant who made a false robbery report that led to the shooting. A police review last month exonerated both officers, saying they had acted within department policy.
But on the anniversary of McDade's death last month, his family's outrage was still palpable.
"There aren't too many people left who want to step up and demand justice," his father Kenneth McDade said as he choked back tears at a small candlelit memorial. The family has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit, expected to be tried next year.
Pasadena had once been a city of refuge. Founded more than a century ago by Hoosiers fleeing a frigid winter for the perfume of San Gabriel Valley orange blossoms, it soon became a winter resort for vacationing moguls of industry. Its Millionaire Row offered solace to chewing gum magnates, soap makers and carpet sweeper kings. Its tidy Craftsman-style bungalows also offered relief from Victorian architectural excess.
Today, the genteel burg 11 miles northeast of Los Angeles is best known for its Rose Parade, viewed by millions worldwide. Its majestic Colorado Street Bridge, now celebrating its 100th year. Its Caltech, Jet Propulsion Lab, Arts Center College of Design and soaring federal appeals court. As well as its classic bungalows, historic downtown and art museums that woo connoisseurs of taste from throughout the region. It's also known as the hometown of Jackie Robinson, who played baseball, football and basketball and ran track at Pasadena Junior College.
All within a city of 138,000 - where 39 percent are white, 34 percent Latino, 14 percent Asian and 11 percent black, according to the U.S. Census. Despite median family earnings of $68,000, Pasadena ranks second to San Francisco in the statewide gap between rich and poor, with 15 percent of the population living below the poverty line, according to the U.S. Census.
Despite the disparity, the alleged police misconduct rankles civic leaders who don't see it squaring with the city's august image.
While some believe the city has no problem with racial prejudice, it was among the last school districts in the country to implement desegregation. Most of the others were in the deep South. Court-ordered busing resulted in massive amounts of parents pulling their children from public schools and placing them into private institutions. Pasadena attracted significant national attention as the first western city ordered by federal courts in the post-Brown v. Board of Education era to desegregate its schools.
"Pasadena is a very old city, has never been known for racism. And it's sad," said Norma Valenzuela, president of the League of United Latin-American Citizens' Pasadena branch. "Certain police officers have been racist, even against their own.
"We're known for our roses, our parades, our Rose Bowl. Police misconduct, it's just bad press."
The allegations - involving a half-dozen cases, two pending civil suits, a flurry of police complaints and nine officers - would make most heads spin. Investigations against at least three police officers are still pending.
They include the case of McDade, investigated by Detective Keith Gomez, who has been vilified in the family's civil lawsuit for being directly involved in multiple police beatings and killings of black men in Pasadena. A former suspect in a murder claimed Gomez threatened to kill him.
They also include:
·  The case of 18-year-old Shawn Baptiste, who was riddled with bullets by two alleged gang members at a Pasadena intersection in February 2007. Jerrell Sanford and Michael Grigsby were both charged with his murder. After Fidler declared the recent mistrial because of the "egregious" police investigation by Broghamer and Okamoto, both are expected to be tried again.
·  After the cops on the case, Broghamer and Okamoto, were accused of interfering with the female witness, they and Gomez were also accused in a police complaint of battering a witness, 24-year-old Jeremy Carr. In his complaint, Carr alleged the three cops stormed into his home, spirited him to police headquarters, handcuffed him to a wall, then beat him in an effort to extract a lie that would bolster their case.
He didn't, he said, and as a result suffered injuries to his face, ribs and back. This month, he told his story to police internal investigators.
·  Meanwhile, another witness in the Baptiste case said he learned that police had falsely labeled him a snitch - making him a target in the streets. "It's threatening," said Gary Brunston, 30, of Altadena, outside his job mentoring troubled kids at the Learning Works Charter School in Pasadena. "Any time I roll through the neighborhood, somebody could shoot at me."
·  There is also the case of Edward Damas, who pleaded no contest for joining another assailant in brutally disfiguring a man during a brawl in February 2009 at the Wokcano Restaurant & Bar.
A bar employee accused Okamoto in a police complaint of pressuring him to wear a wire during a chat inside Damas' jail cell - violating state laws against self-incrimination.
Superior Court Judge Teri Schwartz also accused the policeman in court last year of failing to turn over witness information, transcripts and audio recordings that Damas' attorney said could free his client. The judge later cleared the officer of knowingly hiding evidence.
"I would be kidding myself if I thought my client was the first person this happened to," said attorney Michael Kraut, a former deputy district attorney and a whistleblower in the Los Angeles Police Department's Rampart corruption scandal. "The question is: How many times has he hidden evidence?"
Among the cases getting a second look is that of Sherwin Williams, a black city utility worker charged in December, 2010 for firing at police, and injuring one officer.
On the night of Dec. 27th, the 44-year-old Fontana resident pulled into a Pasadena parking lot, only to be confronted by a gang member who'd once stabbed him, according to a civil lawsuit Williams filed against police. Williams said he fired a warning shot. The gang member then reported the incident to police, he said.
Police responded by peppering Williams' pickup with 22 bullets, damaging nearby cars. They later accused him of being a gang associate - and injuring a cop. During a jury trial in 2011, Williams was acquitted of all charges. No officer said to be injured was identified. Afterward, his attorneys said police failed to turn over some 500 crime scene photos during the trial.
Williams has since sued the city for excessive force. The trial is expected to begin this summer.
Finally, the litany of police misconduct allegations include the case of Matthew Deuel, charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest in June 2011 after a soccer game at the Rose Bowl. Since then, Deuel has sued the city, claiming two officers violated his civil rights by filing a false police report saying he was drunk. One of the officers later admitted he lied in the police report. A doctor who'd seen him in the ER said during a court deposition that the patient was not intoxicated.
One attorney in another Rose Bowl case claimed Okamoto, the maligned officer, had asked him for airline tickets to Hawaii in exchange for not arresting the father of a man who'd allegedly stabbed someone in December 2010. Sanchez said the allegation was unfounded, that an internal investigation had cleared the officer.
Meanwhile, one defendant in a recent murder case has made the various misconduct allegations a basis for his defense.
But there is irony that a city whose Police Department is run by minorities must defend itself against allegations of racial profiling.
Brown, of the NAACP, can reel off numerous suspicious police shootings of black residents. But he was quick to commend Sanchez and the city for its police reforms, especially during the past year. He sees reason to hope.
"The chief is not taking any hostages," he said. "Under Chief Sanchez, there has been change. Officers cannot do what they used to do without facing disciplinary action."
Since the former deputy chief for Santa Monica came aboard, Sanchez has called for greater accountability, including disciplinary action, for officers. He set up a system of receipts for complaints against police, easily filed online, a computer system to track problem cops, as well as protect the city from liability. And he's instituted a central complaint desk.
The chief, who had founded Santa Monica's SWAT unit, said he has aimed to raise the bar for professionalism in Pasadena.
Last year, the department made 8,700 arrests, while employing categorical force 53 times, or in less than 1 percent of cases, he said.
The department also investigated 84 police complaints, including 28 targeted at potentially problem cops, ranging from rudeness to excessive force to unauthorized search warrants, according to a police report. Of those, 16 were sustained, which included 10 reprimands, four suspensions and two fired cops, Sanchez said. Forty-five complaints are still under investigation.
Many of the allegations against Okamoto, Broghamer and Gomez were generated by a single source: attorney Michael Kraut, who filed eight complaints, only one of which has been sustained, said Sanchez, while three remain under investigation.
Last winter, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office exonerated both officers involved in the McDade shooting, saying they believed they were under fire when they shot the unarmed teen. The officers were also cleared by an internal affairs police investigation.
"While I think the conduct of these officers is concerning, it doesn't mean they are integrity violations," said the 55-year-old chief. "We have great people. These allegations have been exaggerated.
"However, the internal affairs investigators will determine what occurred. And if my officers violated department policy, or the law, they'll be held accountable. However, if the my officers are exonerated, then we'll move on ... and go back to the daily discharge of our duties, and striving for excellence."
Nonetheless, some civic activists are calling for an independent police commission, comprised of members with legal and civil rights backgrounds.
"We need an independent body to look at these issues - police corruption, misconduct, fatal shootings," said Randy Ertll, executive director of El Centro de Accion Social, an advocate for the poor that stages an annual peace walk. "There needs to be a feeling of safety, so that people don't get shot by police or gang members, because certain areas are not safe in Pasadena.
"It's deceiving: we have the Rose Parade image, but the reality is different."

Dozens of Fired LAPD Officers Seek Reviews

In the wake of Christopher Dorner's claim that his firing from the Los Angeles Police Department was a result of corruption and bias, more than three dozen other fired LAPD cops want department officials to review their cases.
The 40 requests, which were tallied by the union that represents rank-and-file officers, have come in the two months since Dorner sought revenge for his 2009 firing by targeting police officers and their families in a killing rampage that left four dead and others injured.
Dorner's allegations of a department plagued by racism and special interests left Chief Charlie Beck scrambling to stem a growing chorus of others who condemned Dorner's violence but said his complaints about the department were accurate. To assuage concerns, Beck vowed to re-examine the cases of other former officers who believed they had been wrongly expelled from the force.
Now, details of how the department plans to make good on Beck's offer are becoming clear. And, for at least some of the disgruntled ex-officers, they will be disappointing.
In letters to those wishing to have their case reviewed, department officials explain that the city's charter, which spells out the authority granted to various public officials, prevents the police chief from opening new disciplinary proceedings for an officer fired more than three years ago.
"Therefore the Department does not have the power to reinstate officers whose terminations occurred more than three years ago," wrote Gerald Chaleff, the LAPD's special assistant for constitutional policing. "You are being informed of this to forestall any misconceptions about the power of the department."
The reviews remain one of the unsettled postscripts to the Dorner saga. In February, three years after he was fired for allegedly fabricating a story about his partner inappropriately kicking a handcuffed suspect, Dorner resurfaced in violent fashion, bent on seeking revenge for his ouster.
After killing the daughter of the attorney who defended him at his disciplinary hearing and her fiance, Dorner killed two police officers and wounded three other people as he evaded capture during a massive manhunt. After more than a week on the run, Dorner was chased into a cabin in the mountains near Big Bear, where he died from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Dorner had posted online an angry manifesto of sorts in which he claimed that he had been a victim of a racist, corrupt police organization that protects its favored officers at the expense of those trying to report abuses. Those accusations tapped into deep wells of discontent and distrust that officers and minority communities have felt toward the department. Beck sought to reassure doubters that years of reforms had changed the department and buried the "ghosts" of the past. He then offered to review past discipline cases.
Fired officers who wish to have their terminations re-examined must first submit an affidavit or similar declaration within two months of receiving the letter from Chaleff, according to a copy obtained by The Times. The letter was sent in recent weeks to the former officers who have already come forward.
Using "clear and convincing language," the letter instructs ex-officers to explain "the new evidence or change in circumstances that would justify a re-examination of your termination."
LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said Chaleff will conduct a review for anyone who follows the rules laid out in the letter. "We will do whatever it takes on the cases, including redoing interviews, if necessary," he wrote in an email.
The department and the Protective League declined to release the names of former officers who have requested reviews.
Gary Ingemunson, a longtime attorney for the League, used the case reviews as an opportunity to revive the League's perennial criticism that disciplinary hearings, called Boards of Rights, are stacked against officers.
"The Board of Rights system could be fair, but for the last few years the Department has consistently outdone itself in the attempt to completely skew the system against the officer. The Department wants to win. End of story," Ingemunson wrote in a column in the current issue of the union's monthly magazine.
One of the problems, Ingemunson and other union lawyers have said, is the makeup of the three-person panels that decide an officer's fate. Two of judges are senior-level LAPD officers, while the third is a civilian.
According to the critics, that arrangement is unfair because officers are sent to boards whenever the chief wants them fired and the officers on the panel will feel pressure to do as the chief wants.
Smith rejected that idea, saying board members are completely free to decide as they see fit. He pointed to department figures showing that over the last three years, officers sent by the chief to Boards of Rights were fired in only about 60% of the cases.
Smith defended the department's disciplinary system in general, saying it has been in place for decades and stood up under repeated scrutiny by oversight bodies.
Another allowance Beck made after Dorner's rampage, Smith noted, was to launch a broad review of disciplinary procedures to identify areas that officers believe are unfair and possibly make changes to address those concerns.

Centreville Assistant Police Chief Guilty

The former assistant chief of police for Centreville, Illinois, pled guilty in U.S. District Court on April 25, 2013, to making false statements to federal law enforcement officers, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Corey Allen, 31, admitted that he lied to federal law enforcement officers while they investigated whether he sold a gun to a convicted felon.
Allen was indicted by the federal grand jury on December 11, 2012, following an inquiry into whether he sold a gun to a registered sex offender. On November 30, 2012, Allen was interviewed by federal agents who asked him whether he supplied Individual #1 with a firearm. Allen stated that he did not supply the gun to Individual #1, claiming that he had no idea where Individual #1 had gotten the gun. Allen further stated that he had never seen the gun before federal agents recovered it on October 11, 2012.
Allen admitted in court documents that he had previously possessed the firearm and in fact had sold the gun to Individual #1 for $100 on May 3, 2012, knowing that Individual #1 was a felon and a registered sex offender. Allen stated that he came into possession of the firearm while working as a police officer, but rather than documenting the recovery of the weapon he simply kept it and later sold it.
The crime of making a false statement to a federal law enforcement officer is punishable by up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and not more than three years’ supervised release upon release from prison. However, the United States Sentencing Guidelines must be applied to the case and considered by the court during sentencing. Court documents explained that, under the Sentencing Guidelines, Allen will be sentenced for the more serious offense of selling a firearm to a felon in addition to his conduct of making false statements. Sentencing has been scheduled for August 30, 2013.
US Attorney Stephen Wigginton said, “Instead of upholding the oath he took to protect his community, this officer personally armed a sex offender with a stolen gun, then lied to federal agents about what he had done. He threw away his career, tarnished the badge, and endangered his community for a few dollars.”
The investigation was conducted through the Metro East Public Corruption Task Force by agents from the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft.

The national problem of drunk and drugged up cops

Indiana cop accused in fatal drunk-driving crash arrested again

An Indianapolis police officer who faces drunk-driving charges for allegedly crashing into two motorcycles with his patrol car in 2010, killing one rider, has been arrested again on suspicion of drunk driving.

Despite the earlier crash, which also injured two people, David M. Bisard's driver's license was still valid due to irregularities surrounding his 2010 arrest and a quirk in state law. The case was originally thrown out over allegations that the bloodwork -- which showed his blood-alcohol content to be 0.19, more than twice the legal limit -- was handled incorrectly.

An appellate court later overruled that claim after prosecutors refiled seven felony charges against him, including reckless homicide.

The uproar spurred legislators to change Indiana's laws on drunk-driving tests and became so great that a judge moved his trial out of Indianapolis for fear that Bisard wouldn't get an unbiased jury.

Bisard, 39, is suspended from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

On Saturday, Bisard was arrested again on suspicion of drunk driving after running his truck into a speed-limit sign, a guardrail and a power pole in Lawrence, Ind.

"I've been drinking since noon, and I'm not going to say I've had two like everyone else does," Bisard told a police officer who arrived on the scene, after at first denying that he had been drinking, according to an arrest report obtained by WISH-TV. "I know you know who I am. I messed up today. If you guys can cut me a break, I promise I will never drink again."

Bisard's blood-alcohol content registered 0.17 after a Breathalyzer test at the scene, according to the arrest report -- slightly lower than in 2010 but still twice the legal limit.

After learning about the new crash, the mother of the motorcyclist killed in 2010 told WISH-TV, "I am just thankful that nobody was hurt, nobody was killed, that the only damage was property damage."

Mary Wells, mother of Eric Wells, continued: "But my first words out of my mouth was, 'Oh my God,' because it's like, we have been trying to get this man's license suspended from the get-go."

As of Sunday, Bisard was being held in the Marion County jail on a $25,000 bond on a charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. A court appearance was set for Wednesday morning.

Hialeah Sgt. Tomas Munoz, Arrested For Cocaine Possession, Claims Pimp Set Him Up

MIAMI -- A Hialeah Police officer has an unusual excuse after being arrested Saturday at a Miami hotel room and charged with felony possession of cocaine.

After bonding out of jail, a smiling Sgt. Tomas Munoz told reporters he was set up -- by his girlfriend's pimp.

“This all came about from a love story, you know?" Sgt. Munoz said. "I met a girl, she happens to have a pimp and we fell in love. And he doesn’t let her be free...This came about because he set the whole thing up.”

Munoz declined to detail how he came to be arrested on drugs charges at the Ernesto Hotel on 40th Avenue and Flagler Street, including a second misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.

But according to Hialeah Police, he was already in hot water. Officials told WSVN that Munoz was under an Internal Affairs investigation and had already been assigned to desk duties without police authority at the time of his arrest.

Now, Local10 reports, he will be assigned at-home status and relieved of duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

When asked why he was already under investigation, Munoz declined to answer. But "I'm good," he said. "I'm gonna be good no matter what."





Orlando police officer suspended for Walmart altercation

Surveillance video shows officer point Taser at customer's face
An Orlando police officer was suspended for 40 hours after an Internal Affairs investigation revealed he violated several OPD policies and procedures during an altercation inside a local Walmart.
According to documents and surveillance video obtained by Local 6, the officer pushed a customer onto a jewelry counter and pointed his department issued Taser at her head after the woman was told to leave the store by the assistant store manager.
The customer, Stephanie Hayman, filed the complaint against Officer Andre Howard after the December 16 incident. The OPD investigation was completed on April 4.
The report states Hayman and two of her friends entered the store around 11:30 p.m. Hayman allegedly began screaming obscenities toward the father of her two children, who's also a Walmart employee. That's when assistant manager Elisa Gertken told Hayman to leave.
Meanwhile, according to the report, another employee alerted Howard, who was working extra-duty at the store, to the incident.
Although Hayman was complying and leaving the store, the manager said she kept stopping, turning around and cursing.
In Walmart surveillance video, Howard is then seen grabbing Hayman and pushing her onto a jewelry counter while pointing his Taser toward the woman's face.
The assistant manager, Gertken, told investigators "Howard pulled out his Taser, pointed it at Hayman's forehead and said, 'If you don't shut the **** up, I'll tase you.'"
Hayman said Howard continued to hold her collar as he escorted her out of the store then called her a derogatory name and slammed her into her car, but the video in the parking lot shows the officer kept his distance.There was no audio on the surveillance tape and the officer denied calling Hayman a derogatory name.

Schmuck of the week, fired cop: Alcoholism was a disability

PORTLAND, Ore. — A police officer fired for driving drunk in an unmarked police car while off-duty has filed a $6 million lawsuit against the city of Gresham, the police chief and others, alleging his rights were violated under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The lawsuit filed in Portland alleged the officer, Jason Servo, was suffering from alcoholism, a recognized disability under the act, and shouldn’t have been dismissed.
The suit also alleged Servo was denied due process, and the police union failed to represent him adequately.
“Just as with any type of disability or disease, they should have made some kind of effort to accommodate that, or some kind of effort to work with him, and not simply sever all ties,” said Shawn Kollie, one of Servo’s attorneys.
Police Chief Craig Junginger was out of the office Friday. City spokeswoman Laura Shepard said officials would not discuss the case because their policy is to not talk about pending litigation.
Servo, 43, was arrested in January 2011 after he crashed into a ditch while off-duty. The lawsuit said that Servo, a detective who was the department’s lead firearms instructor, had taken the police vehicle to a firearms training session in the nearby city of Troutdale. He later joined fellow officers for dinner and drinks.
“This was a common practice among (Gresham) officers and had become an inherent part of the culture,” according to the lawsuit filed late Thursday.
Servo was alone when his vehicle veered into a ditch and he was not hurt. Though Servo refused to take breath or field sobriety tests, the Clackamas County sheriff’s deputy who arrested him later testified before the state Department of Public Safety Standards and Training that Servo was probably one of the top 10 most intoxicated people he had arrested in almost 15 years of drunken-driving investigations.
Two months after the accident, Servo pleaded guilty to drunken driving and entered a diversion program. He fulfilled the program’s requirements and the DUI was dismissed.
Servo also voluntarily entered an in-patient program at a Serenity Lane drug-and-alcohol treatment center, where he was diagnosed as an alcoholic.
“There were times where I went home and I couldn’t get crime scenes out of my head; I went to drinking for that and there are other officers that do the same thing,” Servo said Friday, adding that he has now been sober for 818 days.
The lawsuit alleged the chief fired Servo to save money, ignoring the known disability of alcoholism.
“I know it sounds kind of like a conspiracy theorist’s claim,” Kollie said, “but we do believe there was a funding issue in the Gresham police department at the time.”
It could not immediately be determined how common it is for alcoholics to claim their rights have been violated under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in a fact sheet, provides an example of how an alcoholic can justly be fired, and it’s similar to the Servo case.
In its example, a federal police officer is involved in an accident for which he is charged with drunken driving. About a month later, he gets a termination notice stating that his conduct makes it inappropriate for him to continue. The officer says the arrest made him realize he is an alcoholic and that he is obtaining treatment. According to the EEOC, the employer may proceed with the firing.
The example, of course, is not precise because Servo’s crash happened while he was off-duty.
“The ADA has provisions in it, across the board, to not require employers to subject other people to unreasonable risk to accommodate a disability,” said Bob Joondeph, executive director with Disability Rights Oregon.
Joondeph said he couldn’t comment on any specifics in the Servo case, but generally accommodations for an alcoholic might include letting the worker attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings — not allowing them to drink on the job or drive drunk.
Separate from the lawsuit, Servo is appealing the standards-and-training agency’s decision to strip him of his police certification.
Servo is currently working as a private investigator.