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Entries in cops (17)

Friday
Jan042013

Boulder Cops in Hot Water for Role in Elk Shooting

Thinkstock/Getty Images(BOULDER, Colo.) -- Two police officers in Boulder, Colo., have been suspended and are now under criminal investigation for their role in killing a large bull elk that wandered into a residential neighborhood.

On Tuesday, a Boulder police officer was on patrol when he spotted a large male elk that appeared to be limping and had broken antlers, according to a department press release.

“In his judgment, he believed the elk needed to be humanely euthanized,” the release said. “The officer dispatched the elk with one shot from his shotgun and called another off-duty officer to come pick up the elk carcass.”

The off-duty officer, the release said, took the animal to process for meat for his own personal use.

The killing of the large trophy animal then became a bit of a mystery, after Boulder police initially denied that their officers were involved. That’s because the department says the two unidentified officers never told anyone about the shooting, as required.

“In this case it appears that the officers involved did not follow standard procedures in alerting police dispatch, contacting a supervisor about how to deal with the injured elk or following up with a written incident report,” Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner wrote Friday in a letter to the community.

Both officers are now off the streets and Beckner has apologized.

“Two officers involved in Elk shooting incident have been placed on Admin Leave w/pay pending the outcome of investigations,” Beckner tweeted Friday morning.

The cops are now the focus of an internal affairs probe in addition to a criminal investigation being conducted by the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife.

Samson’s Law, named after a massive bull elk that was killed in the Colorado town of Estes Park in 1995, carries fines up to $10,000 for illegally hunting trophy animals.

A family who lives at the home where the elk was shot Tuesday told Denver ABC affiliate KMGH-TV that the Elk they nicknamed “Big Boy” was a bit of a neighborhood legend, often coming into their yard to snack on a crabapple tree.

“Everyone had different names for him, we called him Big Boy, other people called him Rufus or Humphrey,” Lara Koenig told KMGH.

“He was a little aggressive at times, I think he just really wanted to eat,” Koenig said. “He was a little bit lost sometimes. He used to wander down the back of all our backyards.”

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov272012

Rhode Island Cops Under Investigation for Ordering Roadside Pushups

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Cops who allegedly told some mischievous teens to drop down and give them ten might have to go through their own painful exercise.

In North Providence, R.I., Mayor Charles Lombardi is said to be livid over learning that four members of his police force supposedly ordered five teenage boys to do push-ups after picking them up last Friday for damaging a mailbox.

What the cops didn't realize at the time was that someone in the neighborhood recorded the entire thing on video, which Lombardi got to watch.

Now, the police involved in the alleged incident are under investigation as the mayor describes what he's seen on tape as nauseating and unacceptable.

Lombardi is considering suspending the officers involved although one of the boys' mothers actually agreed with cops' push-up regimen.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep042012

Despite Crime Wave, 50 Chicago Police Sent to Dem Convention

ABC News(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Only days after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked for federal agents and U.S. Marshals to help combat the city's wave of violence, about 50 Chicago police officers have arrived in Charlotte, N.C., to work perimeter security details for a week at the Democratic National Convention.

The Chicago officers, in their distinctive uniforms and checkerboard-brimmed hats, said they had been instructed not to talk with reporters about their out-of-town assignment.

"These are officers on their days off and were specially trained as mobile field force officers for the recent NATO summit in Chicago," said Melissa Stratton, a spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department.

A Charlotte Police Department spokesperson confirmed that "roughly 50 officers from Chicago" were on duty at the convention.

On Monday morning, some of the Chicago officers were stationed near security screening posts where delegates enter the Charlotte Convention Center.

"I would love to know the logic behind that decision to send them there given all that is happening here in Chicago," the Rev. Ira Acree of the Greater St. John Bible Church in Chicago told ABC News on Monday.

"It's a state of emergency here in Chicago," Rev. Acree told the Wall Street Journal last week.

Chicago police union officials also questioned the use of officers in Charlotte.

"We had two homicides and dozens of shootings this weekend, and we're sending offices out of the city?" said Pat Camden, a spokesperson for the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police.  "I think the average person would shake his head over that."

Last Friday, Mayor Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy publicly asked for federal help in targeting neighborhoods that have been hit hardest by the city's wave of violence.

"The help comes in the form of additional agents to target guns, gangs and drugs," Superintendent McCarthy said at a news conference.

Chicago's homicide rate is about 31 percent higher than last year, with 346 reported killings as of Aug. 19, according to figures provided by the Chicago police.

Officials said the Chicago officers were sent to Charlotte to reciprocate for police sent by Charlotte to help during the recent NATO summit held in Chicago.

"They are there on their days off and were not pulled off the street," said Stratton.

She said the officers sent to Charlotte will be paid through a special federal grant of $50 million for convention security.

"No funds from the city of Chicago are involved," Stratton said.

"We had a very successful outcome at the NATO convention in Chicago," she said, praising the training of the officers to handle large gatherings.

There was no request for the Chicago officers to assist in security at the GOP convention last week in Tampa, Fla., Stratton added.

The police union has been critical of Mayor Emanuel, a prominent figure in the Democratic party and former White House chief of staff, for substantial reductions in the police budget.

"We've had about a thousand officers retire over the last two years and only about 200 have been hired to replace them," said Camden.

"We've had a collective failure of all institutions to address the violence and I don't give the president a pass either," Rev. Acree said.

A spokesperson for Charlotte Police Chief Rodney Monroe said, "Chief Monroe is grateful to have the assistance of these officers for this monumental event."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug232012

Detroit Babysitter Flees Cops with Baby in Arms

Courtesy Ferndale Police Department(DETROIT) -- A Detroit man caught driving a stolen car while babysitting a 21-month-old infant led cops on a high-speed chase, crashed the vehicle and then fled on foot with the baby, which he handed to a woman bystander before police caught him.

Vilary Reed, 23, was driving a stolen Ford Crown Victoria on Detroit’s 8 Mile Road when he was stopped by police shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday.  Though initially he stopped and complied with officers, he decided at the last moment to take off in the car, leading cops through the side streets of the city with the tot in tow, according to a police report.

“Reed ran through stop signs, sped, and lost control and crashed at Pennington and Pembroke,” police said in a report.  “When Reed emerged from the car, he was carrying a 21-month-old baby boy in his arms.  Reed ran from police while carrying the baby.”

As Reed darted from the enclosing officers, he must have decided that the baby was slowing him down.  So, he handed the baby to a woman who was standing in her yard, then ran on.

“He handed her the baby.  The baby was crying.  He just told her to hide me!  Hide me!” John Abner, the husband of the woman to whom he handed the baby, told ABC News' Detroit affiliate WXYZ-TV.

Officers were soon able to apprehend Reed following a chase through several other yards.

After Reed was captured, the baby was examined by Ferndale Fire Department paramedics and finally returned to his mother.  The baby is the son of the suspect’s live-in girlfriend, and he’s now back with his mother while Child Protective Services is investigating the incident, WXYZ reported.

Reed is a parolee, previously convicted of fleeing and eluding police.  He also has previous convictions for receiving and concealing stolen vehicles, according to police.

The case had now been turned over to the prosecutor’s office for a determination of charges, police said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
May182012

Mississippi Highway Shooting Suspect Caught After Rape and Kidnap

Tunica County Sheriff's Office(TUNICA COUNTY, Miss.) -- The man arrested in connection with two Mississippi highway murders was linked to the crimes after he allegedly kidnapped and raped a woman who managed to get away and contact police.

James D. Willie, 28, was arrested Tuesday morning on rape and aggravated assault charges when Tunica County police responded to an apartment where a disturbance was reported. When they arrived, a woman said that Willie raped her.

Police found a Ruger 9mm, semi-automatic handgun in his possession during the arrest, which investigators later determined matched the weapon used in last week's shootings.

The motive for the alleged shootings were "drugs and robbery," authorities said at a news conference Friday. Cops would not confirm or deny if Willie was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crimes.

Willie was charged with kidnapping, rape, felony possession of a firearm and the murder of Lori Carswell, police said. Charges for the murder of Tom Schlender are still pending.

Authorities initially thought the shooter was posing as a police officer to get people to stop on highways on the northern part of the state, but have since backed away from that theory.

"We can't confirm or deny if the car was already parked, if he ran across her or if he flashed her [with lights] to get her to pull over," Tunica County Sheriff K.C. Hamp said referring to Carswell.

Schlender, 74, from Nebraska, was found in his car on Interstate 55 in Panola County on May 8 about 1:30 a.m. Three days later, Carswell, 48, from Mississippi, was found near her car on Highway 713 in nearby Tunica County about 2:15 a.m.

"We did interview [Willie] last night and in the early morning hours," Hamp said. "He's been cooperative to a certain extent. We didn't get a confession directly, but we got a lot of information."

Schlender's family told ABC News that his wallet was missing. Police will not say whether Carswell was robbed, but said her purse, cell phone and wallet were in her car, but the wallet was empty.

Willie, who has an extensive criminal record, has previously spent eight years in prison for burglary charges.

The fear that a killer was posing as a cop to get his victims to pull over had prompted police in Mississippi to warn motorists to not stop if being flashed by police late at night. Instead, the department advised they call 911 to help decide whether the call behind them was really a police car.

If it wasn't a police car, the cops would send help.

Willie is being held in jail without bond and is expected to make his first court appearance on Monday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May172012

After Mississippi Killings, Man Questioned Following Apparent Fake-Cop Highway Stops

Thinkstock/Getty Images(HUMPHREYS COUNTY, Miss.) -- Authorities are questioning a man over suspicious highway stops in central Mississippi after two fatal shootings last week that apparently occurred during phony police stops in the northern part of the state.

As of late Thursday, the man being held in Humphreys County, Miss., James Lucas, was merely "under investigation," being questioned on two Wednesday-night incidents and not charged with a crime, a Humphreys County sheriff's official said. Police could not say whether the two recent incidents were related to the earlier fatal shootings.

"We're just going to say these are isolated incidents in our county and we're going to deal with that first," Sam Dobbins, an investigator with the Humphreys County Sheriff's Office, told ABC News.

However, Dobbins added, other police agencies in the state, including the Mississippi Department of Investigation, also were investigating, apparently giving the case a broader scope.

At least one detail may not match up to those reported in the fatal shootings from last week: Wednesday's incidents involved a blue Mercury Grand Marquis, possibly the one Lucas was driving when he was pulled over around noon Thursday in Yazoo City, Miss., according to ABC News affiliate WAPT in Jackson, Miss. The fatal incidents, however, were believed to involve a gold Ford Crown Victoria.

The Humphreys County incidents occurred after Mississippi authorities urged drivers to question whether anyone pulling them over really was a police officer.

"We urge everyone to be cautious while driving, especially at night," the Tate County Sheriff's Office posted on its Facebook page. "If someone attempts to pull you over with flashing lights and you feel unsure of stopping, DON'T PULL OVER. Use your cell phone and dial 911 and if it's a real officer then the dispatcher will confirm it for you and if it's not a real officer they will send help to you."

"Our deputies have been told not to overreact if someone does not immediately pull over," the sheriff's office wrote. "Your safety is our primary concern."

Two drivers were killed on northern Mississippi highways within days of each other and investigators in multiple counties and federal officials were working to find out who may be behind the killings.

The recent cases occurred along U.S. 49 in Humphreys County, which is in central Mississippi, between 9 p.m. and midnight Wednesday night.

"We received some calls last night for a blue car similar to a police car, a Mercury Grand Marquis, that attempted to stop two vehicles," Dobbins said.

Although Dobbins believed the person in the Grand Marquis approached the victims' cars in plain clothes, the suspicious car's occupant evidently made indications his was an official vehicle.

"He displayed flashing blue lights, yes he did," Dobbins said. "That's what we call impersonating a police officer."

Both pulled-over drivers grew suspicious and sped off toward Yazoo City in neighboring Yazoo County, where Lucas and the car later were found being brought back to Humphreys County.

One of the two victims grew frightened and fired a gun when he saw the Grand Marquis following him, Dobbins said.

Later, one of the victims identified the seized car as the one involved in the highway stop, Dobbins added.

Dobbins would not comment on whether or not Lucas or the occupant of the Grand Marquis displayed a weapon.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May092012

Cops to Be Tried in Alleged Fatal Beating of Homeless Man Caught on Video

Thinkstock/Getty Images(FULLERTON, Calif.) -- Two Fullerton, Calif., police officers will be tried in the death of a mentally ill homeless man whose apparent beating by police was captured on video, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Officer Manuel Ramos, 38, and Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, 40, are charged in the death of Kelly Thomas, 37. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Attorneys for the officers have questioned whether medical treatment, not the actual beating, could have resulted in Thomas' death.

"The grainy but gripping video of a homeless man being beaten to death was the key evidence in the prosecution's successful effort to convince the court to force a police officer to stand trial for murder in the second degree," said Royal Oakes, an ABC News legal analyst.

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"The video of the beating conjured up memories of the Rodney King police beating of two decades ago," Oakes said. "The videotaped evidence will no doubt be the centerpiece of the D.A.'s case in the upcoming murder trial, where one officer could be facing 15 years to life behind bars."

The July 5, 2011, surveillance video, taken from a publicly mounted camera, coupled with an audio recording device worn by an officer, stunned a packed courtroom of Thomas' supporters when it was shown for the first time Monday.

"I can't breathe man," and, "sorry," Thomas could be heard telling officers as he allegedly endured punches to his left ribs and blows to his face from an officer's knee.

Thomas, who is reportedly schizophrenic, repeatedly cried out for his father.

He was also Tasered three times with the stungun applied directly to his skin for five-second periods. He was hit a fourth time with two darts connected to the gun by wires, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office. The entire time he could be heard screaming in agony.

The apparent beating lasted nine minutes and 40 seconds and ended with Thomas' limp body in handcuffs.

Thomas was transported to St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, Calif., for intubation to help him breathe. He never regained consciousness.

Five days later, Thomas died. The coroner's office ruled the death a homicide.

"You have 1,500 pounds of trained cop on my one little son, but they have to bring this out like they were just so overpowered by this brute to make themselves look innocent and that they're the victims," Ron Thomas, the victim's father, said outside of court Monday.

The officers had responded to the Fullerton Transportation Center after receiving a call that a homeless man was seen looking into car windows and pulling on door handles.

Six officers arrived at the scene for backup, but the district attorney determined that there was only enough evidence to charge Ramos and Cicinelli in Thomas' death.

The video began with Ramos approaching Thomas and asking him to sit with his legs and hands in front of him. Thomas had trouble complying with the order and appeared to have cognitive difficulties, according to the D.A.'s office.

Fed up, Ramos made fists and asked Thomas if he saw them. Thomas replied that he did.

"They're getting ready to f--- you up," Ramos told him.

When a shirtless Thomas, who had earlier forgotten his name and said he didn't speak English, stood up, Ramos and his partner were shown swinging at him with their batons.

Thomas took off and was tackled, setting off the nearly 10-minute beating that allegedly led to his death.

Ramos is a 10-year veteran of the Fullerton Police, while Cicinelli has been an officer in Fullerton for 12 years.

The video ended with paramedics carrying Thomas' body to an ambulance, revealing a large blood stain on the spot where the altercation took place.

Thomas had no illicit drugs or alcohol in him at the time of the incident, according to the toxicology report.

If convicted, Cicinelli could face a maximum sentence of four years in prison and Ramos could be sentenced to life in prison.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb262012

Investigators Search for Motive Behind Cop Shooting Fellow Officer

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(BEVERLY, Mass.) -- Investigators are searching for a motive behind the alleged shooting of a Massachusetts officer who shot a fellow colleague, before turning the gun on himself, according to police.

The two men knew each other and had arranged to meet at a Starbucks coffee shop at a strip mall, according to investigators, who did not confirm if a motive for the shooting has been established.

Beverly police officer Jason Lantych, 35, stumbled into the Starbucks around 6 p.m. He had been shot in his groin and wrist and was bleeding profusely. Patrons immediately came to his aid.

Witnesses told police they heard multiple gunshots right before Lantych entered the coffee shop. Lantych identified the gunman as Sgt. Kenneth Nagy, 43, who allegedly fled the scene in a black SUV.  Nagy was an off-duty sergeant from a nearby town, Hamilton.

“He was shot in the groin area,” one man told ABC News affiliate WCVB. “We elevated his leg and applied pressure and I told my buddy to apply pressure, we got the bleeding to slow down a little bit.”

Lantych was rushed to the hospital and underwent surgery Friday night. Police told WCVB he was listed in critical condition.

Friday night, investigators identified Nagy as the prime suspect in the shooting. A warrant for his arrest was issued and a statewide manhunt was launched.

Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett warned the public during a press conference Friday night that Nagy was armed and dangerous.

Just 15 minutes after the plea from the district attorney, the search was over.

Nagy fatally shot himself in his SUV parked in a parking lot on the opposite side of the building from where the mayhem began.

The Massachusetts State Police told ABC News that they will not make any further comments on the case and that it’s being handled by the Essex County District Attorney’s Office.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb012012

Officer Killed By Partner in Suspected 'Suicide By Cop'

Thinkstock/Getty Image(SANTA MARIA, Calif.) -- A California police officer about to be arrested by his partner and best friend pulled a gun and began firing wildly in what some experts believe was an act of suicide by cop.

Officer Alberto Covarrubias, 29, was shot dead Saturday by his partner Officer Matt Kline, who had been the best man at Covarrubias' wedding just three weeks ago.

Kline and other officers moved in to arrest Covarrubias for allegedly having sex with a teenage girl who was a member of the Police Explorers, a group of teens interested in law enforcement.

When his partner showed up to take him into custody, Covarrubias pulled his weapon and fired a few shots at no clear target, police said. Kline returned fire, killing his partner.

"Events unfolded very rapidly," Santa Maria Police Chief Danny Macagni said at a press conference Saturday. "It was very clear to the investigators that he knew what was going to happen."

Rebecca Stincelli, who has researched police shootings for 26 years, told ABC News, "It is suicide by cop, even if it was a split-second decision to die."

"It's a panicked, knee-jerk reaction," Stincelli said. "His career was over. If they're not a cop, then who are they? This is someone who has had authority [and] power and suddenly they're without it. It is suicide by cop."

Stincelli said officers shooting one of their own is extremely rare, but that 10 to 12 percent of all officer-involved shootings are suicide by cop.

"Cops are used to making split-second decisions. That was his," she said.

Covarrubias, who had been an officer for four years, was working a DUI checkpoint early Saturday morning.

The Santa Maria Times reported that a lieutenant at the checkpoint told all of the officers, including Covarrubias, that the teenage girl who was on duty at the checkpoint would be removed that night because she was part of an investigation.

When an adult came to pick up the girl, Covarrubias reportedly panicked and began sending her text messages.

"He started texting stuff like 'I'm not going to jail' and 'I'd rather kill myself' and that type of stuff," a retired officer familiar with the case told the newspaper on the condition of anonymity.

When Kline showed up to take him into custody, Covarrubias pulled his weapon and began firing, prompting Kline to fire.

Some law enforcement experts are questioning why Covarrubias was arrested publicly and while on duty.

"It's the worst thing on earth to apprehend an officer when he or she is on the job," Maria Haberfeld, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said. "In my eyes, it was an error of judgment."

Haberfeld said there is no uniform protocol for apprehending police officers who are accused of a crime, but she'd like to see one.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan042012

Eighth Grader Shot By Cops Had Pellet Gun

AbleStock/Thinkstock(BROWNSVILLE, Texas) -- An eighth grader was shot and killed by Texas cops Wednesday when he refused to put down a gun, but police later determined the boy had been armed with a harmless pellet gun.

Brownsville police rushed to the Cummings Middle School around 8 a.m. Wednesday when school officials called 911 to report a student with a gun. The school was promptly locked down.

"The student engaged the officers and was shot," according to a statement from the Brownsville Independent School District.

"He had the weapon in his hand and he pointed the weapon at the officers," Brownsville Police Detective Jose Trevino told ABC News.

Kip V. Johnson Hodge, a spokeswoman from the office of Cameron County Justice of the Peace, told ABC News that Gonzalez was pronounced dead at the hospital. An autopsy has been ordered and officials are awaiting the results.

"The motive and his background are not going to be released yet because it's still an active investigation," Trevnio said.

It wasn't until later that police determined that Gonzalez's weapon was a pellet gun that looked like a real handgun.

No other students or employees were injured.

Investigators searched the "entire school room by room," according to the police statement. The lockdown was lifted approximately two hours later.

Students and employees from the school were relocated to the gym at Porter High School. Parents who wished to pick up their children were told to report to the school. Counselors were on hand to talk to students, parents and employees.

The school has approximately 750 students enrolled. Brownsville is in the southern tip of Texas, approximately 280 miles south of Austin.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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