A grand jury was investigating the conduct of deputies of the Marion County, Florida Sheriff’s office for using excessive force when making arrests. Sheriff Chris Blair was subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury. He did, and now he’s been charged with two counts of perjury in an official proceeding, and a third charge of official misconduct. All charges are third-degree felonies. Officials said that Sheriff Blair “knowingly testified falsely in that while testifying in regard to Dustin Heathman.”
Dustin Heathman was involved in a 6-hour standoff with a SWAT team in 2014. He was charged with two counts of attempted second-degree murder of a law enforcement officer; five counts of aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer; and firing into a vehicle. In December 2015, a jury of 6 found Dustin Heathman guilty of attempted second-degree murder. He was acquitted on the charge of shooting into a barn at deputies. Read the rest of this entry
From 2011 to 2013, 45-year old Robert Vaughan robbed 8 drug dealers of cocaine, marijuana and contraband cigarettes. He earned a profit of $300,000. Vaughan conducted the robberies in Chicago, Cicero, Plainfield, Lyons, Melrose Park, and Forest Park, Illinois. Maybe this would not be news if not but for the fact that Vaughan was a police officer with the Cook County Sheriff’s Department when he committed the robberies along with two other law enforcement officers. Vaughan admitted to the crime in a plea agreement. On April 13, 2016, Vaughan was sentenced to 7 and a half years in federal prison.
In his argument for sentencing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sunil Harjani wrote;
“This is the type of crime one would expect to only see on a television show. The crimes were brazen, arrogant and detrimental to the citizens of this district. While the victims of the offense in this case garner no sympathy – they are drug dealers and contraband traffickers – it cannot excuse the outrageous conduct by Vaughan, who committed robberies using his badge and gun.”
In Palm Beach County Florida, in October 2010, 17 –year old Jeremy Hutton took the keys to his parent’s van and took off in it. Jeremy has severe Down Syndrome. Jeremy’s mom called 911 and reported it. Deputies located and followed the van. Deputy Jason Franqui got out of his car and fired 6 times, hitting Jeremy with three bullets. Jeremy’s family has filed a lawsuit against the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office for unjustified shooting. They are represented by attorney Stuart Kaplan, who stated;
“The deputy says, ‘I looked at him, he looked at me and made a sharp right turn and turned the vehicle towards me. That’s a lie.”
The Palm Beach County’s internal investigation and the state’s attorney found the deputy’s decision to use force was justified. Kaplan also stated that Jeremy, who has the mental capacity of a 6-year old, wasn’t a threat. Read the rest of this entry
Hat tip to Santiago.
In June of this year, we reported what happened to Gabriel Carrillo at the Los Angeles County Jail where he went to visit his brother. The beating done to Gabriel resulted in the city settling a case for $1.2 million.
On Monday, former Sargent Eric Gonzalez was sentenced to 8 years in a federal prison for overseeing the backroom beating of Gabriel. U.S. District Judge George King ordered Gonzalez into custody immediately after sentencing, telling him he had “abused his authority and corrupted the very system he was sworn to uphold.”
Gonzalez was a 15-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department. In June, he was found guilty of deprivation of civil rights, conspiracy to violate constitutional rights and falsification of records. Four other deputies have been convicted in the case and await sentencing, while a fifth was indicted last month and faces trial in December.
The convictions in Carrillo’s beating are part of a federal investigation of civil rights abuses and corruption at the nation’s largest sheriff’s department.
Yahoo news reports that nearly two dozen members of the department, including the former second-in-command, have been charged with crimes ranging from beatings to obstruction of justice; 15 of them have been convicted so far, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
In arguing for a sentence of more than 11 years, federal prosecutors stated;
“An aggravated assault with serious bodily injuries is a grave offense. When such a crime is undertaken by a gang of law enforcement and then covered up as if the victim committed the crime, the harm to important societal interests makes the crime all the more significant.”
Caterpillars, moths, butterflies, and all creatures great and small,
I’m trying out the Word Press feature “press this.” It is a feature where I can copy from a newspaper article and click “press this” and it puts it in a post for the blog, with attribution. It saves time writing new posts from scratch. The following is the “press this” article, followed with additional information.
Posted: Monday, September 21, 2015 11:01 amTULSA (AP) –
Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz has been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury investigating the agency after a volunteer deputy fatally shot an unarmed man. Grand jurors have been conducting a probe of Glanz’s office for the past seven weeks. At least 19 current or former sheriff’s office employees and others have been called upon to testify, including fired Maj. Shannon Clark, demoted Capt. Billy McKelvey and former Maj. Tom Huckeby, the Tulsa World reported.
The investigation was launched after former reserve deputy Robert Bates fatally shot Eric Harris, who was unarmed, on April 2. Bates has said he mistook his hand gun for a stun gun. After the shooting, it was discovered that officer Robert Bates hadn’t received adequate training over the years of his service.
Bates has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting death. Glanz confirmed the subpoena Thursday after a swearing-in ceremony for 21 cadets. He declined to comment further on his upcoming grand jury appearance next week. Read the rest of this entry
Long before there was a police force in America, there were sheriffs. The office of sheriff has its roots in 9th century England. According to the National Law Enforcement Museum, the early policing system was modeled after the English structure, which incorporated the watch, constables, and sheriffs (derived from the British term, “shire-reeves”) in a community-based police organization. The British system developed from “kin policing” dating back to about 900 A.D., in which law enforcement power was in the people’s hands, and they were responsible for their families or “kin.”) Early law enforcement was reactionary, rather than pre-emptive—the watch usually responded to criminal behavior only when requested by victims or witnesses.
Then called a “reeve,” what is now known as the Sheriff in America, was an individual originally selected by the serfs to be their informal social and governmental leader. The reeve soon became the Kings appointed representative to protect the King’s interest and act as mediator with people.
In the United States, approximately 98 percent of sheriffs are elected. Good, bad or mediocre, what sets the office of sheriff apart from the police force, is that the sheriff’s office is accountable to the citizens through the election process. Read the rest of this entry
Tommy Rodella and his son, Tommy Rodella, Jr., were indicted on federal charges of conspiracy to violate civil rights, deprivation of rights, brandishing a firearm, and falsifying police documents. Tommy Rodella is Sheriff for Rio Arriba County in New Mexico.
FBI agents arrested the Rodella’s for their role in a March 11th confrontation that left the driver injured.
In August 2014, they pled not guilty.
The four count indictment alleges that Rodella was driving his personal vehicle when he engaged in a high-speed pursuit and unreasonable seizure of the driver who is identified in documents as “M.T.” Rodella was accused of dragging the driver from his car, and throwing him down in the dirt. Rodella’s son told the driver that his father is the sheriff. M.T. asked to see his badge. Documents state that Rodella then pulled the driver’s head from the dirt by his hair, then slammed his badge into M.T.’s right cheek and eye. Read the rest of this entry
This is the post I promised. The case saddens me, while at the same time I was excited. One reason I was excited is because justice was administered by the federal district court where I live. Another reason is that is shows that in some cases, federal investigators turn over every rock to find evidence, and sniff out every witness, even if it takes years — in this case, 4 years.
In August 2010, a search warrant was executed for a home located in Saint Anne, Illinois. The person (who investigators called “A”) admitted that he viewed and traded child pornography over the internet. He used various methods to trade the pornography, including P2P networks, Yahoo Messenger, and Skype. In September 2010 during a follow-up interview, the person identified the user names of individuals in whom he had traded child pornography.
Two usernames were for one individual who was identified as Greg Pyle. Greg Pyle sent child pornography to “A”. Greg told “A” that a boy in the porn photos and videos was a relative. “A’s” hard drive was examined and investigators found that Greg Pyle also exchanged child pornography with others on the internet. Google cooperated in the investigation to verify information. Oops!! Read the rest of this entry
48 year old Rock Island County Sheriff, Jeffrey Boyd, was up for re-election. He has now withdrawn from the race.
On September 11, 2014, Boyd pled guilty to one count of attempted official misconduct based on attempted cyberstalking. As part of his guilty plea, he resigned and forfeited the pension he earned during his term as Rock Island County Sheriff.
The case was referred from the Illinois State Police to the Public Integrity Bureau for the Illinois Attorney General’s office. It was prosecuted by the Public Integrity Bureau Chief David Navarro and Bill Elward of the Trial Assistance Bureau. Read the rest of this entry