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Monday, March 31, 2008

"The average officer who kills themselves..."

Expert: On-duty suicides are rare
Stamford Advocate
By Brian Lockhart
03/26/2008

NORWALK - Police officers rarely kill themselves while on duty, as city Police Officer Matthew Morelli apparently did. But experts said yesterday that his age, time on the force and broken marriage are common in cops who take their own lives.

Morelli, 38, was found shot to death in a church parking lot early Friday, minutes after radioing dispatchers that he was checking on something suspicious.

A citywide manhunt initially ensued for a possible killer of the 11-year veteran, but investigators yesterday acknowledged a "high degree of probability" that Morelli had taken his own life.

"If it is a suicide, it is rare to have that staged a suicide," said Dr. Audrie Honig, chief psychologist for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and head of psychological services for the International Association of Chiefs of Police. "Suicide is a very impulsive act. You don't typically get something planned and staged."

Robert Douglas, a former police officer in Florida and Maryland who runs the National Police Suicide Foundation, agreed. He said 94 percent of suicides that have occurred since 1997 are at home.

Honig speculated Morelli wanted his suicide to look as if he were gunned down in the line of duty because of the stigma associated with police officers who take their own lives.

"There's the whole sociological response to suicide, versus (being killed) in the line of duty, from both family and colleagues," Honig said. "Society looks down upon suicide. In law enforcement, it's even less acceptable because you're supposed to be 'strong' all the time."

Douglas said Morelli's personal code as a police officer and former Marine could have played into the decision.

"Being a 'warrior,' he did it while on duty, just like over in Vietnam we had soldiers who killed themselves over there," said Douglas, who served as a Marine in the 1960s.

Morelli was found lying over an AK-47, which sources said he may have brought back from the first gulf war.

That also fit, Douglas said.

"The weapon was one he felt comfortable using," Douglas said. "The weapon takes on an identity. It seems crazy, but it's the truth. When I was in the Marine Corps, that M-14 was my life."

Douglas said Morelli's profile fits the general description of police officers who take their own lives.

"The average officer who kills themselves has been on for 13 years, is usually about 35, a white male and kills themselves over a relationship. It's so consistent," Douglas said. "Most of these officers, when the foundation at home gives away, then everything falls apart."

Morelli's colleagues said he was depressed after his ex-wife returned about a year ago to her native Australia with their 6-year-old daughter, Sydney Anne.

Experts said solid relationships can help police cope with daily job pressures.

"It is a stressful job. It carries enormous power, and they see people at their worst," Honig said. "We really need to provide these folks with preventative intervention."

Honig said although most police departments nationwide try to take proactive steps against suicides, it is rare to find a comprehensive program even in a large police department like Los Angeles.

Honig said the International Association of Chiefs of Police is developing a suicide prevention clearinghouse, where departments can turn for resources.

Three years ago, Norwalk, at Chief Harry Rilling's urging, joined a statewide Employee Assistance Program, an organization that provides 24-hour assistance for emergency first responders.

"We always find ourselves looking back and saying 'What could have happened differently?' " Rilling said yesterday. "We do a lot. Could we do more? We'll have to see."

Dr. Jay Berkowitz, a psychiatrist who has worked with the state Department of Correction and counseled police officers in his private practice, said the Employee Assistance Program works.

But he said police should not be afraid to use it.

"Sometimes police officers are too embarrassed to use them," Berkowitz said. "I think the police department should say, 'Look, if you need to go for help, it's there.' Make it clear it's all right to go for help."

Rilling acknowledged police officers are reluctant to get help, and the program is trained to overcome those barriers.

He said the program will be running "stress debriefings" immediately after tomorrow's funeral for Morelli.

"One thing police officers ask themselves is could they have seen this coming? Could they have prevented this?" Berkowitz said.

Honig said it is difficult for police departments to come to terms with an officer's suicide versus a duty-related death.

"The line-of-duty death is something they memorialize. They have a process for it and a protocol. There's a lot of tradition and that's sort of a healing process in and of itself," Honig said.

She said some departments wrestle with how to bury an officer who took his or her own life, and she has been trying to persuade law enforcement authorities to treat suicides as other active-duty deaths.

"This is just somebody who felt so blocked in and so at their last ends and in an impulsive movement did something they couldn't take back," she said.

Rilling said Morelli will be buried with full honors in recognition of his service to Norwalk and to his country.

"The (possible suicide) will probably have some impact on how far people travel to attend, but we expect a big turnout," Rilling said. "I know the law enforcement community stands beside us and supports us no matter what the situation. A person killed in the line-of-duty is one level, but an officer dying an untimely death is something they sympathize and empathize with."

[TN] Deputy Johnson killed boyfriend Officer Hayes & got probation


Monique Johnson Sentenced to Probation

Kevin Holmes
3/28/2008
A Memphis woman who shot her boyfriend six times, including once in the head, is sentenced to four years probation. Former Shelby County Jailer Monique Johnson killed Memphis Police Officer Tony Hayes and now, she's out of jail... She was charged with first degree murder, but convicted of Reckless Homicide on February 15, 2008. She told the jury she was in an abusive relationship and killed Hayes out of fear... Johnson told jurors that after the shooting she panicked and was afraid to call police because she feared the officers would hurt her because Hayes was a police officer. She said she called her son to help her put his body in the trunk of Hayes' car. Hayes was missing for nearly a week before his body was discovered in the trunk of his Lexus at an East Memphis apartment complex. Johnson's son, Donald Wallace, who was 16 at the time, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact... [Full article here]

Sunday, March 30, 2008

[OH] Passive Chief Rivera says demoted Detective Earl could have court credibility problems?

THIS IS ALL ABOUT THE CHIEF REALLY - NOT COREY EARL. LEADERSHIP AND PROFESSIONALISM START AT THE TOP.

...[Lorain Police Chief Cel] Rivera said [former police union president, demoted detective, jailbird, psychiatric inpatient, multiply-suspended, sometimes-suicidal, burglarizing, repeatedly threatening, timebomb Lorain Police Officer Corey] Earl's recent problems, both legally and with adhering to departmental policy, could create problems for him, especially when he has to take the stand in a criminal case and defense attorneys bring them up...


Previous entries:

COREY EARL TO THREE POLICE CAPTAINS:
"WHAT'S IT GOING TO TAKE? AM I GOING TO HAVE TO TAKE A BASEBALL BAT TO HIM?"

Lorain police officer Corey Earl suspended again
Morning Journal Writer
JENNIFER BRACKEN
03/28/2008
Lorain police officer Corey Earl will receive an unpaid, three day suspension for acting inappropriately by entering a tavern while on duty, according to Lorain police Chief Cel Rivera. The discipline stems from a Jan. 30 incident when Earl went to Scorcher's Casual Eatery and Brewhouse on Broadway to wish his girlfriend a happy birthday. As he entered the bar, Earl found his girlfriend talking to Tom Pruitt, a Lorain County corrections officer who had dated Earl's ex-wife, before the Earls' divorce was final... Pruitt filed a complaint with the Lorain Police Department saying Earl made a threat directed at him, through a third party... Earl went to the Lorain County Sheriff's Office to file a complaint against Pruitt, saying Pruitt was going out of his way to provoke him... Earl spoke to three captains and became frustrated when he felt nothing was going to be done... Earl said, "What's it going to take? Am I going to have to take a baseball bat to him?" The statements were unprofessional, Rivera said... Earl was placed on administrative leave Feb. 26 for the threat. He was also served with a temporary protection order to stay away from Pruitt, which has been dropped. He returned to active duty March 12... Earl was disciplined in early January after he admitted to making inappropriate comments to his girlfriend's ex-husband during a traffic stop... He was also reprimanded for conducting private business while on duty, using indecent, profane or harsh language in the performance of official duties and engaging in personal conduct or act which, if brought to the public, could result in justified unfavorable criticism of that officer or department, according to the investigation. [Full article here]

Bar incident nets Lorain cop three-day suspension
The Chronicle-Telegram
Brad Dicken
3/28/2008
...Earl broke the rules when he entered Scorchers bar on Jan. 30... Department rules prohibit bar officers from entering bars without an official reason while on duty, Rivera said... Earl asked the captains, "What's it going to take? Am I going to have to take a baseball bat to him?"... That constituted conduct unbecoming of an officer, Rivera said, but wasn't a criminal threat because Pruitt - who asked for and later dropped a civil stalking protection order against Earl - wasn't present when the comment was made... Several other allegations against Earl, including that he had accessed Pruitt's personal information using confidential law enforcement computer systems, weren't proven, Rivera said... Another allegation by Pruitt - that Earl had made a threat against him to a Sheffield police officer - also didn't hold up because the Sheffield officer denied it happened, Rivera said. Earl was placed on leave earlier this year while Pruitt's stalking order was working its way through the legal system, but he returned to road patrol duties after it was dropped. Earl has had other legal problems. He was the subject of a protection order filed by his now ex-wife, Laura Earl, last year after he allegedly threatened to kill himself in their Amherst home. He later was charged with violating the protection order, a charge that was dropped by prosecutors who said they doubted Laura Earl's allegations... Rivera said Earl's recent problems, both legally and with adhering to departmental policy, could create problems for him, especially when he has to take the stand in a criminal case and defense attorneys bring them up... [Full article here]

[KY] Deputies Riley & Hagan charged after domestic violence call

...Sgt. Kenny Riley, 41, was charged with fourth-degree assault/domestic violence... Another Daviess County deputy, Gordon Wayne Hagan, 50, was charged with driving under the influence after officers determined he showed up drunk at Riley's home to get him.

Two Daviess County deputies charged after domestic dispute
Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer
March 30, 2008
A Daviess County deputy who supervises the court security division and a part-time deputy are facing suspension after a domestic dispute about 2:30 a.m. Saturday. Sgt. Kenny Riley, 41, was charged with fourth-degree assault/domestic violence after Owensboro police officers responded to a 911 call at his home in the 2000 block of Crestwood Drive. Another Daviess County deputy, Gordon Wayne Hagan, 50, was charged with driving under the influence after officers determined he showed up drunk at Riley's home to get him. Capt. Jeff Jones of the Daviess County Sheriff's Department said Saturday that Riley will be suspended with pay pending an internal investigation. Hagan, who works part time, also will be suspended until the sheriff's department investigation is completed... [Rileys's girlfriend] said Riley grabbed her in their living room, ripping her shirt, and she ran upstairs and called 911. Officers noted she had "redness on her right side," and she said she was unsure how she got the mark... Riley told officers [his girlfriend] had been drinking and was attempting to drive to Denny's. He said as she was walking toward the door to leave, he grabbed her by the shirt, and it ripped. Riley called Hagan to come and get him... He drove up to Riley's address in a reckless manner, unsteady on his feet and smelling strongly of alcohol, the citation states... He failed a field sobriety test and refused to take a breathalyzer test. Both deputies were taken to the Daviess County Detention Center and released later Saturday. Riley had no bond listed as paid on the booking report, and no court date was logged. Hagan posted $500 bond, and a Friday court date was listed. As a past president of the Owensboro chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Riley once played a leading role in race-relations issues. [Full article here]

Saturday, March 29, 2008

[SC] Officer Metts violated order, broke down door, and beat up his ex-wife again [reportedly].

..."Mr. Metts requested a PR bond, and I gave that to him," [Orangeburg County Chief Magistrate Sam] Daily said. "Since then, I have learned that there have been other charges"... Immediately after that initial arrest, ODPS Chief Wendell Davis announced Metts had been fired... In the latest incident, Metts’ ex-wife called police saying a man called her saying he was “coming to get me”...

Previous entry: [SC] Officer Metts fired after slapping wife several times in public
...Metts' ex-wife said he pulled her from a friend's vehicle and pushed her against it, according to an ODPS incident report. She said he then slapped her across the face several times. Her friend backed up the story, the report said. The responding officer said when he arrived at the scene, Metts walked up to him and said, "Bo, I f----- up. Take me to jail"...

Bond revoked for former city officer facing 2 CDV counts
Orangeburg Times Democrat, SC
By RICHARD WALKER
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Bond was revoked during the second of two court hearings held Friday afternoon for a former law enforcement officer charged with two counts of criminal domestic violence. Orangeburg County Chief Magistrate Sam Daily revoked a $5,000 personal recognizance bond he placed on 38-year-old Dwayne Metts two weeks ago. "Mr. Metts requested a PR bond, and I gave that to him," Daily said. "Since then, I have learned that there have been other charges"... A former Orangeburg Department of Public Safety officer, Metts was fired two weeks ago from that agency after being charged with first-offense criminal domestic violence. SLED handled the March 14 case since the alleged incident occurred within city limits... The former police officer was released on the personal recognizance bond as set by Daily with the stipulation that he stay away from his ex-wife. Then early Thursday, Metts' was arrested after his ex-wife reported a man kicked in her door and struck her in the face repeatedly. Since the first charge has not been adjudicated in court, Metts was again charged with first-degree criminal domestic violence, He was also charged with first-degree burglary in connection with the alleged forced entry of the Cope area home... The first criminal domestic violence charge two weeks ago could result in a sentence of up to 30 days. Authorities have the option of upgrading Thursday's charge of domestic violence to second offense, which would carry a sentence of 30 days to a year in prison, if convicted. A first-degree burglary charge can carry a sentence of life in prison... [Full article here]

Former officer faces new domestic charges
Orangeburg Times Democrat, SC
By RICHARD WALKER
Thursday, March 27, 2008
A former Orangeburg police officer fired two weeks ago after he was charged with criminal domestic violence has been arrested again. Albert Dwayne Metts, 38, of 885 Edisto Drive, has been charged with first-degree burglary and a second count of first-offense criminal domestic violence involving a second alleged physical altercation with his ex-wife. “Any time you get charged with assaulting a woman, you’re going to get arrested,” Orangeburg County Sheriff Larry Williams said. “Being a former law enforcement officer gives him no leverage or upper hand in his committing the crime”... Immediately after that initial arrest, ODPS Chief Wendell Davis announced Metts had been fired as a public safety officer... In the latest incident, Metts’ ex-wife called police around 3:50 a.m. Thursday, saying a man called her saying he was “coming to get me,” according to an Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office incident report. The Cope woman called the subject’s mother “in hope that she could talk him out of coming, with negative results,” the report states. She claimed the man then came to her home, kicking in the door after getting no response to knocking. She said he grabbed her and pushed her up against a wall, where he struck her “repeatedly about the head and left side of her face,” the report indicates. The woman managed to free herself and call 911. When she did so, the man fled. However, as county deputies were taking the woman’s statement, the man returned and was taken into custody, the report said... Bond was set on Metts at $5,000 surety Thursday morning, the maximum dollar amount for a CDV charge... [Full article here]

[IN] Officer Trefry accused of holding gun to his wife's head

Southport Officer Timothy Trefry was arrested Thursday for allegation of holding gun to his wife's head

Police: Reserve Officer Pulled Gun On Wife
Man Arrested On Intimidation Charge

theindychannel.com
March 28, 2008
..."He allegedly pointed a firearm at her (and), in the process, pulled the trigger on the firearm," said Col. Doug Cox, chief deputy of the Johnson County Sheriff's Department. Children left the home through a window during the argument, police said. No injuries were reported. According to a police report, Trefry's wife told investigators that he previously had threatened to kill her and their children.... Trefry was arrested on a preliminary charge of intimidation with a firearm. [Source]

[CO] Acquitted of dv, Officer Sandoval offered $13,500 to resign

Denver cop offered $13,500 to resign
Rocky Mountain News
Daniel J. Chacon
March 28, 2008
A Denver police officer fired over domestic violence allegations — a firing that was later overturned — is being offered $13,500 from the city to resign from the force and drop a civil lawsuit against the Police Department. The proposed settlement with Officer Steven Sandoval and his attorneys in exchange for his "voluntary resignation" is up for City Council approval on Tuesday. Sandoval and his wife were allegedly involved in a domestic violence altercation on Aug. 13, 2005. Aurora police received a 911 call from the officer's wife, who said Sandoval was hitting her, according to city documents. When officers arrived at their home, neither Sandoval nor his wife were there, according to records. Afterward, Sandoval's wife declined to file a police report. Aurora police reported the incident to Denver's Internal Affairs Bureau, which conducted an investigation into the allegations "as well as other alleged domestic violence altercations between Officer Sandoval and his wife from 2002 to 2005"... After the internal investigation was completed, Safety Manager Al LaCabe fired Sandoval for violating department rules and regulations. Sandoval appealed his dismissal to the Civil Service Commission, and a hearing officer "found that Sandoval did not assault his wife" on Aug. 13, 2005. The hearing officer changed the dismissal to a 30-day suspension. Sandoval could not be reached. His attorney, Doug Jewell, declined to comment until the council considers the proposed settlement.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

[CT] Firefighter Kennedy attacks wife's lawyer & ZERO tolerance means maybe

...[NEW HAVEN FIREFIGHTER MATT] KENNEDY AND HIS WIFE ARE IN THE PROCESS OF A DIVORCE, AND LAST YEAR HE WAS ISSUED A SHORT SUSPENSION AFTER BEING ARRESTED WHILE OFF DUTY IN HAMDEN IN CONNECTION WITH A DOMESTIC DISTURBANCE. HE ALSO WAS INVOLVED IN A FIREHOUSE RUN-IN LAST AUGUST WITH A CO-WORKER AND ALLEGEDLY CHOKED HIM... [FIRE CHIEF MICHAEL] GRANT’S BOSS, CITY CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER ROB SMUTS, SAID HE WILL REVIEW THE WRITTEN REPORTS AND CONFER WITH GRANT. THE CITY’S “ZERO TOLERANCE” POLICY STATES THAT WORKPLACE VIOLENCE “MAY” RESULT IN DISCIPLINARY, HE SAID. IT DOESN’T MANDATE IT...

Angry Connecticut Firefighter Tossed in Jail
Allegedly jumped from ambulance to attack wife's lawyer

New Haven Register
WILLIAM KAEMPFFER
03-23-2008
It wasn't the fight itself that created a spectacle... It was the fact that the aggressor was an on-duty city firefighter, who allegedly jumped out of his fire department ambulance and attacked his wife's divorce lawyer when he saw the two together downtown. While he wasn't immediately arrested, Firefighter Matt Kennedy ultimately spent the night in jail, authorities said... [Fire Chief Michael] Grant said he still didn't have all the details, but he provided this account as he said he understood it: Kennedy was working on an emergency unit and was returning from a medical call when he saw his estranged wife and a man together. He left the vehicle and confronted the woman and man. By the time the battalion chief arrived, police had them separated and the battalion chief and Kennedy's partner convinced him to get back in the rig and to the firehouse. There, when Kennedy remained visibly upset, a paramedic recommended he get checked out at the hospital. He was arrested by police at the hospital for violating a protective or restraining order his wife had against him, Grant said. "It was confrontational. I'm sure a million people saw it," he said. "It's disappointing to me and embarrassing to the department"... after a crowd of spectators had gathered and as police spoke to Wallace, Kennedy allegedly broke free from police and firefighters who were restraining him and went after Wallace again, threatening him. Some questions were raised when Kennedy was pushed back into his rig and driven off, instead of being arrested at the scene, although charges ultimately were filed... Kennedy and his wife are in the process of a divorce, and last year he was issued a short suspension after being arrested while off duty in Hamden in connection with a domestic disturbance. He also was involved in a firehouse run-in last August with a co-worker and allegedly choked him. Neither pursued the matter and Kennedy was not disciplined... [Full article here]

FROM 2007 (SAME CHIEF):

Firefighters Fight … Each Other

New Haven Register
by Paul Bass
September 11, 2007
Fire Chief Michael Grant (pictured) said Tuesday he has decided not to discipline two firefighters involved in a fight on the job involving “strangling” and unproved accusations of drunk driving. The incident may test the city’s “zero tolerance” policy on workplace violence. City Chief Administrative Officer Rob Smuts said he plans to review the incident in that light... Chief Michael Grant said he learned of the incident over the weekend, then questioned his battalion chiefs and deputy chief about it... He said he believes that language in the reports like “strangling” and “assault” overstated the incident. “It was more pushing and shoving.” No one was hurt, he said. The two firefighters involved are actually friends, Grant said; they and their families had been together the prior week in Baltimore for a firefighters’ convention. “These guys are together all the time,” Grant said. “Sometimes a lapse of judgment comes into play. Not often. Tempers flare… There are personal issues that can weigh on people’s minds.” He compared the incident to “two brothers getting into a fight. They next day they’re the best of friends.” According to Chief Grant, public safety was not compromised during this period. No calls came in; two other firefighters were on duty in the station. In his written report, Capt. Rosado appeared to urge his bosses to take some action. “I would like to remind administrative and managerial staff that the City of New Haven’s policy on workplace violence states ‘zero tolerance for acts of physical violence in the workplace shall be upheld.’ I cannot sugar coat what has happened and characterize the events as an assault of a department employee by another with insubordination on both their parts. I ask that prudent judgement prevail in dealing with the safety of department personnel and preventing any possible recurrence or escalation of a similar nature”... Grant’s boss, city Chief Administrative Officer Rob Smuts, said he will review the written reports and confer with Grant. The city’s “zero tolerance” policy states that workplace violence “may” result in disciplinary, he said. It doesn’t mandate it... [Full article here]

[GA] Officer Taylor charged with stalking his ex-wife


...According to the warrant sworn against Taylor, he followed his ex-wife to Lead Foot's Petro Station after a civil hearing where he "placed under surveillance Jennifer Taylor for the purpose of harassing her ..."

APD officer charged

walb
Posted: March 19, 2008 03:36 PM
Updated: March 24, 2008 05:34 AM
An Albany Police officer was arrested Wednesday afternoon and charged with stalking his ex-wife. Thirty-four-year old patrol officer Phares Taylor, Senior was picked up by deputies at his Lee County home around 3:00PM. He's charged with following and harassing his ex-wife in Leesburg today. The charge is a misdemeanor. Taylor is now on leave with pay pending an Albany Police internal investigation. Taylor has been with APD for 16 months

Complaint filed against officer
In a complaint sworn against an Albany police officer, his ex-wife contends he stalked her.
Albany Herald On-line, GA
J.D. Sumner
March 20, 2008
An Albany police officer has been suspended with pay after being arrested Wednesday by Lee County sheriff's deputies after his ex-wife swore out a family violence warrant against him, authorities said. Phares Taylor Sr., 34, of Lee County, was charged with stalking (family violence) after his ex-wife, Jennifer Taylor, told Magistrate Jim Thurman that he followed her from a civil hearing at the Lee County Courthouse to a nearby gas station without her permission... Taylor will be placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation. According to the warrant sworn against Taylor, he followed his ex-wife to Lead Foot's Petro Station after a civil hearing where he "placed under surveillance Jennifer Taylor for the purpose of harassing her ..." [Full article here]

RATEMYCOP website - Legal & fair

Cop rating site gets mixed reviews
Whittier Daily News, CA
By Rachel Uranga
03/25/2008
Armed with a laptop computer and the names of tens of thousands of police officers across the country, a Southland entrepreneur is raising the ire of law enforcement with an online, five-star rating system similar to those used for teachers. Less than a month old, ratemycop.com has gotten 100,000 hits a day, with users leaving comments - good and bad - about their interactions with cops, founder Gino Sesto said. He runs the site out of his two-bedroom home and said he thinks it's a fair way to hold law enforcement accountable... But police organizations across the country have denounced the site, arguing it endangers officers' safety and is ripe for misuse... The site appears to be perfectly legal. Even the Los Angeles Police Department's union, which two weeks ago sent a note to its 9,600 sworn members in response to concerns about the names of officers being posted, admits ratemycop.com has the right to obtain the information... Some posts are malicious... But others praise officers like Sgt. Wayne Guillary... His motto is to always be professional. That way there is nothing to worry about it... [Full article here]

[CO] Officer Guiterman arrested - DV, harassment, stalking, & criminal mischief

Vail officer arrested
By The Denver Post
Joey Bunch
03/26/2008
A Vail police officer was arrested by his own department Tuesday afternoon, accused of stalking. Officer David Guiterman, 38, was put on paid administrative leave, pending an internal investigation. He has been an officer in Vail since July 2005. On Monday night, Guiterman's girlfriend called 911 saying that he was pounding violently on her door after repeatedly phoning, e-mailing and trying to talk to her at her home, according to police. Guiterman was arrested at his home. He was charged with harassment-stalking, criminal mischief and domestic violence.

[UT] Detective Nielsen didn't have to do the time for the crime

Orem Police Detective Barry Nielsen was given some sweet deal instead of the consequences for two counts of felony forcible sex abuse of a woman he was being "friendly" with during his on-duty breaks. It happened in 2004. He quietly resigned in 2005. He was charged - well, allowed to plea way down - in 2006, and lost his Utah police certification in 2008.

I wonder.
How coordinated is the process in Orem between police chief, internal investigations, police union, prosecutor, and judge for accused officers?
I wonder why it took from 2004 to 2006 to charge him, was someone pushing behind the scenes or just shuffling their feet?
I wonder why it is said that his rape victim didn't want him to be fined or do time. Just curious.
I wonder why a person accused of felony rape can plead down until the record doesn't reflect warning for other potential victims.
I wonder why he was offered the sweet deal? One of the boys? His years of service? Each cop in Utah courts gets at least one free rape pass?

Some days I say nothing as I'm posting, but I'm always wondering.

Felony rape is brutal violation and doesn't spring out of nowhere. Is he a registered sex-offender OR as I'm guessing, has he cleared his record? Who gets these kinds of breaks from prosecutors and judges? [You know. I know.]

He lost his Utah cop job but that doesn't mean he can't find a podunk cop job elsewhere.

He lost his cop job but he also skipped whistling right by even the possible of the THIRTY YEARS IN PRISON AND $21,000 FINE.

If he was a poor guy named Bubba the court would have put him under the jail for decades.

Ok - mercy to cops, but open the prison doors to the hundreds of thousands of prisoners who did non-violent crimes. Give everyone else a break too. Prisons full of poor people incarcerated for selling some weed or stealing a car - not raping a woman.

Nielsen walks away free. I wish the best for him, his victim(s), and all of us.

God bless us every one.

SUMMARY:
UT Orem Police Detective Barry T. Nielsen [2004] allegedly raped a woman he was spending time with during his breaks (that's all we know) and was originally charged [2006] with two counts of felony forcible sex abuse, and one count of lewdness, a misdemeanor. Nielsen agreed to plead guilty to a reduced charge... one count of sexual battery... Nielsen will not pay any fines or spend any time in jail, which is what the victim wanted, said deputy Utah County attorney Donna Kelly. "She wanted him to acknowledge (the) wrong and get treatment"... The arrangements of the deal also require Nielsen to spend 24 months on supervised probation... After that, Nielsen can withdraw his plea of guilty to sexual battery, and enter a guilty plea to a lesser charge of lewdness, a class B misdemeanor, for his permanent record. Nielsen must also complete a psycho-sexual evaluation and comply with any recommended treatment... Update 2008: Orem police: Barry T. Nielsen, [peace officer certification revoked, meaning he cannot practice law enforcement elsewhere in Utah] for conviction of sexual battery...

OREM POLICE OFFICER IS CHARGED WITH SEX ABUSE, LEWDNESS
Salt Lake Tribune
Lisa Rosetta
1/6/2006
An Orem detective who quietly resigned his position in early December was charged Tuesday with two counts of felony forcible sex abuse and a single count of misdemeanor lewdness. Barry Nielsen, 39, of Lindon, was charged following a Utah County Sheriff's Department...  Nielsen has not been arrested. Prosecutors have instead sent him a summons ordering him to appear in court later this month. The former officer is accused of inappropriately touching the woman, a convenience store clerk he had met during his patrol breaks at the store... [Deputy Utah County Attorney Donna] Kelly declined to discuss the specifics of the case... If convicted, Nielsen could face up to 30 years in prison and $21,000 in fines, but Kelly said it was "very likely" he will be placed on probation... Nielsen is scheduled to make his first court appearance in 4th District Court on Jan. 27...

OFFICER BARRY NIELSEN PLEADS GUILTY SEX BATTERY
Provo
Jun 29, 2006,
A former Orem police officer will not spend any time in jail after pleading guilty Tuesday to one count of sexual battery. Barry Nielsen, a former Orem police sergeant, resigned in December after an internal investigation into allegations that he assaulted a woman after giving her a ride home from her job...  Nielsen was originally charged with two counts of forcible sex abuse, a second-degree felony, and one count of lewdness, a class B misdemeanor. However, Nielsen agreed to plead guilty to a reduced charge in a plea deal recently reached with the Utah County Attorney's Office. As part of the deal, Nielsen will not pay any fines or spend any time in jail, which is what the victim wanted, said deputy Utah County attorney Donna Kelly. "She wanted him to acknowledge (the) wrong and get treatment"... The arrangements of the deal also require Nielsen to spend 24 months on supervised probation... After that, Nielsen can withdraw his plea of guilty to sexual battery, and enter a guilty plea to a lesser charge of lewdness, a class B misdemeanor, for his permanent record. Nielsen must also complete a psycho-sexual evaluation and comply with any recommended treatment...

BAD COPS RECEIVE A GOOD CLEANING: Police board did double duty to reprimand officers in ongoing cases
The Salt Lake Tribune
By Nate Carlisle
Published March 25, 2008
In what might be the largest docket in its history, the state's police board Monday booted or disciplined more than 30 peace officers accused of wrongdoing... The board, called the Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, adjudicated twice as many cases as normal for its quarterly meeting. Winward said the high number was not the sign of an increased discipline problem in Utah police but rather investigators and the board trying to adjudicate cases that had been ongoing. "We were cleaning things out," Winward said. The board meeting is coinciding with the annual conference of the Utah Chiefs of Police Association. One of the conference discussion items for Tuesday is titled "Ethics on the Job: A Continuing Challenge."... Which officers were disciplined? Other current or former peace officers disciplined... OREM POLICE: Barry T. Nielsen, revoked for conviction of sexual battery...
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety special treatment rape sex sexual date rape teflon utah state politics]

[CT] Officer Morelli will be buried with full departmental honors

...He had some things in his life which were very emotional and heart wrenching...

...court records showed that Officer Morelli was locked in an international battle with his ex-wife... [see comments]

Previous entry:

[CT] Manhunt for Officer Morelli's killer has quieted into sadness & the unspoken


Findings Point to Suicide in Norwalk Officer's Death

New York Times
By ALISON LEIGH COWAN
March 26, 2008
[Excerpts] Four days after a Norwalk police officer on patrol was found fatally shot in a church parking lot, officials said Tuesday that he had probably committed suicide, and that an AK-47 rifle was found at the scene along with his service pistol. The officer, Matthew Morelli, 38, a former marine, was found Friday morning, shortly after midnight, prompting a major manhunt and a forensic investigation that the Norwalk police chief, Harry W. Rilling, described on Tuesday as the "best the State of Connecticut has to offer." Though investigators are continuing to look for evidence of foul play, Chief Rilling said, "the general consensus is there is a high degree of probability that the fatal wound suffered by Officer Morelli was self-inflicted." On Friday, the police said that neighbors reported hearing a rapid succession of gunshots shortly after Officer Morelli signaled over his radio that he was getting out of his squad car to investigate suspicious activity in the secluded lot. Backup officers arrived at the lot within minutes, and said that Officer Morelli was already dead. On Tuesday, the police refused to divulge much else about the scene, the weapon that dealt the fatal shot or the reasoning behind their conclusions. They said that so long as they could not rule out foul play, Officer Morelli would be buried with full departmental honors on Thursday, along with the honor guard they said he was entitled to as a "highly decorated" former marine. "He deserves no less," said Richard A. Moccia, the mayor of Norwalk, a Fairfield County city of 85,000... Chief Rilling told reporters he had shared the forensic findings indicating suicide with Officer Morelli's parents, brothers and girlfriend earlier on Tuesday. Officer Morelli is also survived by a 6-year-old daughter who lives with his ex-wife in Australia. Fellow officers said the separation from his daughter was one of the problems Officer Morelli had faced. "He had some things in his life which were very emotional and heart wrenching," said Officer William Curwen, the president of Norwalk's police union. Without elaborating, Chief Rilling said "there were some things that happened prior" to the shooting that led his investigators to believe suicide was a possibility. Another clue, he said, was an AK-47 rifle that was found at the scene. Asked whether the survivors' benefits available to officers killed in the line of duty might have been a motivation for making a suicide look like a homicide, Chief Rilling said that he "did not want to speculate." Officers who die in the line of duty are entitled to far more in local, state and federal benefits, and they can also qualify for private sources of money. Mayor Moccia said that it was "inappropriate at this time" to discuss survivors' benefits and that "whatever the family is entitled to they will receive." [Full article here]

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

[NM] Deputy Saiz will be fired for shooting at wife's house with son in the car

...[Sheriff Bob Melton] "I think if you're going to violate the law in a blatant and egregious manner, then you're certainly in the wrong profession and you need to look at doing something else"...

(What of the wife's safety now?)
Sheriff's deputy arrested for shooting at wife's home
By James Monteleone The Daily Times
03/18/2008
A San Juan County Sheriff's deputy was arrested Sunday for firing shots outside his wife's Bloomfield residence. Deputy Steven D. Saiz, 50, was charged with shooting from a moving vehicle, a fourth-degree felony. If convicted, he faces up to a year and a half in prison. Sheriff Bob Melton said the investigation of Bloomfield Police was sufficient evidence of Saiz's involvement, and the 15-year veteran deputy will be fired. "He will be terminated in short order," Melton said. "I think if you're going to violate the law in a blatant and egregious manner, then you're certainly in the wrong profession and you need to look at doing something else." Bloomfield Police were alerted to the incident after hearing shots fired. While responding to the scene, officers pulled Saiz over as he left the vicinity, but recognized him as a sheriff's deputy and allowed him to leave. "It was the assumption of the officer that this person wasn't involved because of the position of trust that he held," Bloomfield Chief Drew Standley said. "Unfortunately it turned out to be different"... Neighbors said Saiz had threatened in November 2007 to shoot at them, but police were never alerted to that threat... After matching the shell casings found with Saiz's firearm and interviewing the sheriff's deputy and his adult son who was in the vehicle at the time, Bloomfield Police arrested Saiz around 4 p.m. Sunday. The termination process could take up to a week, during which Saiz will be on unpaid leave from duty... [Full article here]

[MA] Firefighter Abron - "spirited argument" or battery & assault

...A veteran Boston firefighter yesterday pleaded not guilty to charges that he beat his girlfriend before assaulting police and resisting arrest in an early-morning domestic attack that the alleged victim says never happened...

Firefighter pleads not guilty in assault
Suspect allegedly fought 2 officers

Boston Globe
By Michael Naughton and Martin Finucane
March 25, 2008
A veteran Boston firefighter pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges of assaulting two police officers during a violent confrontation in which they allegedly tried to stop him from attacking his girlfriend. According to the Boston police report, the following events took place. Police officers found Wayne Abron, 41, a 17-year veteran of the Fire Department, "violently shaking" his girlfriend and screaming in her face in the backyard of his Dorchester home just before 2 a.m. Sunday. When the officers tried to separate Abron and his girlfriend, he hit one of the officers with his elbow, threw punches, and tried to put one officer in a headlock, the report said. The officers subdued and arrested Abron after using pepper spray... The girlfriend was uncooperative and declined police and medical services, the report said. Abron had one active restraining order and several previous orders against him, but none was taken out by his girlfriend, according to the police report. Abron pleaded not guilty to two counts of assault and battery on a police officer, assault and battery, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. He posted $400 bail and was ordered not to have contact with the officers, according to the district attorney's office. A Fire Department spokesman said Abron was placed on paid administrative leave. He said Abron was assigned to Engine 7 in the Back Bay... Abron is due in court April 23. [Full article here]

Veteran jake claims police beat him up
Boston Herald
By Jessica Van Sack
March 25, 2008
A veteran Boston firefighter yesterday pleaded not guilty to charges that he beat his girlfriend before assaulting police and resisting arrest in an early-morning domestic attack that the alleged victim says never happened. Police said a combative Wayne Abron, 41, was spewing expletives and had to be "pulled off" his girlfriend, Edwinna Wynn, in a Dorchester yard early yesterday morning. Abron then took swings at the cops, police said, prompting a call for backup. But Wynn disputed that account... Wynn, 36, said she tried to calm the officers when they arrived, but they immediately charged at Abron. "They never asked any questions. They never asked me, 'Did I need any help? Did I need any assistance... If I was in such distress, then why did they never offer me any services?" Police say a call came in reporting a man beating a woman in a yard at 87 Howard Ave., the home of Abron's mother... "Upon arrival, officers heard a man yelling 'I'm gonna (expletive) you up,'... Despite suspect's violent struggle, officers did bring suspect to the ground," the report states, adding that Abron put an officer into a headlock and that family members disregarded officers' orders to stay back. "Never happened," said Wynn, an outreach worker for a local nonprofit who said she will graduate from Wheelock College this year with a degree in social work. Wynn and Abron, who live together in Mattapan, said they were having a "spirited argument" about how to make ends meet. They speculated that a neighbor must have called the police. Abron's mother, Fannie Abron, a retired BPD dispatcher, said she was with her son and his girlfriend during their argument and "there was no physical contact." She said she saw an officer sit on her son and slam his head repeatedly into the ground until "he went limp."... Abron, a 17-year veteran of the BFD, said he blacked out, and that a doctor diagnosed him with an eye socket injury, a thumb sprain and facial contusions. "I was pepper-sprayed. I remember being beaten from behind and I don't remember anything from the time I was at my mom's til the time I woke up in the hospital," Abron said. Police reports state Abron has an active restraining order against him. Abron said he and a former girlfriend filed restraining orders against each other 14 years ago but he insisted neither is active. The Suffolk District Attorney's Office declined to comment, and the BPD released a statement saying: "The BPD investigates any and all complaints that are formally filed regarding officer misconduct." Abron said he has not filed a formal complaint but has retained counsel. [Full article here]

Sunday, March 23, 2008

[SC] Officer Metts fired after slapping wife several times in public

City officer fired, charged with CDV
Orangeburg Times Democrat, SC
Saturday, March 15, 2008
An Orangeburg police officer has been fired and charged with first-offense criminal domestic violence. The State Law Enforcement Division arrested Dwayne Metts, 38, of 855 Edisto Ave., on the misdemeanor charge Friday. He was released on $5,000 personal-recognizance bond and is scheduled to go to trial April 11.He was fired earlier Friday... Orangeburg Department of Public Safety Chief Wendell Davis said as an on-duty officer, Metts "performed his duties in a very professional manner. We had no problems with him, particularly of this sort"... Metts' ex-wife said he pulled her from a friend's vehicle and pushed her against it, according to an ODPS incident report. She said he then slapped her across the face several times. Her friend backed up the story, the report said. The responding officer said when he arrived at the scene, Metts walked up to him and said, "Bo, I f----- up. Take me to jail"... [Full article here]

Media acquired list of decertified officers in Washington & Idaho

...As in Idaho, Washington agencies must contact the commission if an officer has been fired. Through an investigation and a series of reviews, a decision is made whether to take away an officer’s credentials...

Washington, Idaho officers decertified

decertified
The Spokesman Review, WA
Jody Lawrence-Turner
March 22, 2008
[Excerpts] Twenty-five Washington law officers and 14 in Idaho were stripped of their badges last year for transgressions as serious as theft and drug charges, and as basic as telling a lie. For Washington, it’s still a fairly new process. Prior to 2002, an officer could be fired from one agency and go to work for another. Since then, 78 officers have been told they can no longer work in law enforcement anywhere in the state – a third of them last year alone – in a process called decertification. The public in Washington has never before been told who’s been decertified, or why. Until the records were recently requested by The Spokesman-Review, the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission considered the information confidential, even though similar information about decertified teachers and health professionals is considered public. The newspaper’s request prompted a review of that policy, and the commission ultimately determined that state law did not shield the decertified officers from disclosure... With about 10,000 law enforcement officers in Washington and 3,541 in Idaho, only a tiny minority ever face the ultimate disciplinary action of decertification. But more officers are losing their badges than in the past, and Jeffry Black, executive director of Idaho Peace Officers Standards and Training, said the decertification process isn’t the only reason. “I think problems have always been there, but now agencies are being more proactive,” Black said. Washington has only had the process in place for six years.“One reason (that Washington adopted the process) was to ensure that those who were unfit to be law enforcement officers couldn’t work somewhere else”... Disgraced officers used to move from one location to another without leaving the field of law enforcement... Washington officers were decertified in 2007 for reasons that included domestic violence, reckless driving, theft, forgery and dishonesty. Since 2002, there have also been Washington officers decertified for child molestation, assault, burglary and child rape. Black says the most common reasons Idaho officers lose their certification is having sex on the job. In Washington, domestic violence and dishonesty are the most common... Prior to 1996, Idaho officers had to be a convicted of a crime – misdemeanor or felony – before they were disqualified to work in law enforcement. The statute since has been changed to include violations of codes of conduct, such as lying during an internal investigation, insubordination, mishandling evidence or having sex while on duty.... Investigations are reviewed by a 15-member board comprised of several law officers, including chiefs and sheriffs, an FBI agent, the criminal law division chief for the Idaho Attorney General’s Office, executive director of Association of Idaho Cities, and executive director of the Idaho Association of Counties. That board decides whether an officer loses his credentials. The Washington commission has 14 members, including Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick. Idaho’s hearings board and Washington’s commission are appointed by their respective governors. As in Idaho, Washington agencies must contact the commission if an officer has been fired. Through an investigation and a series of reviews, a decision is made whether to take away an officer’s credentials...Since 2002, the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission has stripped 78 officers of their badges – a third of those last year... [Full article here]

Lists of decertified law enforcement officers (PDF files)
Sample:
  • ID Trooper Elias Leija decertified_for dv (Idaho State Police)
  • ID Officer Sean Bryan Hart decertified_battery (Boise PD)
  • WA Trooper Sholtys decertified for domestic (WSP)
  • WA Deputy Brandon Clark decertified for Firearm crime (Stevens Co. SO)
  • WA Cpt Mike Haymon decertified for domestic (Aberdeen PD)
  • WA TPD Officer Skola decertified for domestic (Tacoma PD)
  • WA Deputy Godsey Hyram decertified for domestic (Jefferson Co. SO)
  • WA Officer Derek Arnett decertified for domestic (Kelso PD)
  • WA TPD Officer Michael Torres decertified_fam child rape (Tacoma PD)
  • WA Deputy Mark Mercer decertified for domestic (Skamania Co. SO)
  • WA Officer Steve Kelly decertified_harrassment (Cheney PD)
  • WA TPD Marco Rahn decertified for domestic (Tacoma PD)
  • WA Officer Brian Dahl decertified for domestic (Yakima PD)
  • WA Officer James Covey decertified for domestic (King Co. SO)
  • WA Deputy John Spier decertified for domestic (Franklin Co. SO)
  • WA Sgt Greg Wilson decertified for domestic (Poulsbo PD)
  • WA Deputy Amaad DeAllah decertified for domestic (King Co. SO)
  • WA Officer Vergara decertified for domestic (Pasco PD)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

[FL] Deadly McGuire firefighter-on-firefighter dv just like anyone's ups and downs?

...McGuire-Wolfe, 31, told deputies she feared for her son's safety. "How far do you want to take this?... I'll kill you," she said her husband shouted... "Of course, we're disappointed one of our people was arrested," [Assistant Fire Chief Mike Ciccarello] said, adding that firefighters have the same ups and downs in life as anyone else. "We stand behind our people, and we'll do whatever we can to help them through"...

Firefighter Is Accused Of Hitting [Threatening To Kill, Choking, Pinning, Kicking, Throwing, Pushing, Slamming] His Wife In Fight Over Son
Tampa Tribune
By Lisa A. Davis
BAYONET POINT - A Pasco County firefighter-EMT is accused of hitting his wife, also a firefighter and emergency medical technician, during an argument over their infant son. Joseph D. McGuire, 31, of 13121 Shadberry Lane, was being held late Wednesday at Land O' Lakes Jail on a misdemeanor domestic battery charge. Bail was set at $250. Deputies responded to the couple's home after a 911 call just before 10 p.m. Tuesday and found nobody there, a case report states. That's because the family was at the sheriff's office. McGuire had driven with his son and wife, Christine McGuire-Wolfe, to the New Port Richey Jail to report the altercation, a report says. McGuire told deputies his wife left with their 3-month-old son for three days last week and didn't tell him where they went, so he wanted to take the baby away, a report states. When he tried to leave their home, she attempted to stop him and called 911 while trying to get his keys, the report says. After McGuire got the baby into a car seat, his wife got into the truck and wouldn't get out, so he began to drive but she tried to grab the steering wheel, deputies said McGuire told them. He said that during the altercation, he pushed his wife in self-defense. McGuire-Wolfe, however, told deputies a different story. They were talking, she said, and her husband grew angry. "If I can't have my son, you can't either," he told her, according to a sheriff's report. McGuire-Wolfe, 31, told deputies she feared for her son's safety. "How far do you want to take this?... I'll kill you," she said her husband shouted. McGuire is accused of then pushing his forearm against her throat, pinning her to a doorway and then against a wall, and twisting her arm while she tried to call 911. Her husband put the baby in his truck. At some point, her husband threw her to the floor and kicked her head and an ankle, the report says she told deputies. While she got to her feet, she pushed the alarm on her key chain, the report states, and her husband grabbed her eyeglasses off her face, threw them across the garage and started slamming her hand against a counter so she would drop her keys. She jumped in the truck because she was worried about her son, the report states, and McGuire told her he was driving them to the sheriff's office because "they would believe him and she would never see her son again." McGuire told deputies, they said, that his wife called 911 and made up the story about him threatening her. Deputies noted some small cuts on McGuire and blood on his shirt. Mcguire-Wolf had blood smeared on her face and hands and also had several small cuts, according to a report. Her neck and the area behind her right ear were red. Because he is charged with a misdemeanor and not a felony, McGuire will be allowed to return to work while the case plays out in county court, acting Assistant Fire Chief Mike Ciccarello said Wednesday. Supervisors will evaluate him "because of his anger-management situation," the chief said. "Of course, we're disappointed one of our people was arrested," he said, adding that firefighters have the same ups and downs in life as anyone else. "We stand behind our people, and we'll do whatever we can to help them through," Ciccarello said. Published March 13, 2008. [Source]
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence (IPV) abuse law enforcement public safety brutal florida state teflon]

[MO] Some officers attend personal divorce hearings armed

...any police officer, whether there to testify in a criminal case or to get divorced from his or her spouse, is allowed to carry a weapon... "I am a police officer, and I know so many times in my own peer group where they went through horrible, ugly divorces," [Warren County Sheriff Kevin Harrison] said. "The only thing worse than responding to a domestic is responding to a domestic involving one of our own."...

Guns, officers shouldn't mix in personal court cases
By Susan Weich
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
03/23/2008
[Excerpts] Anyone who has ever stood in line outside of the St. Charles County Courthouse, waiting to go through the metal detector, might think the building is weapon-free. I've been in that line before, but I never really thought about the number of guns in the building. They rival a small police department. First are the bailiffs, who are in charge of courtroom security. And any police officer, whether there to testify in a criminal case or to get divorced from his or her spouse, is allowed to carry a weapon. At a meeting earlier this month, county judges discussed security, and the topic turned to whether police officers should be allowed to carry guns in court. The discussion is expected to continue at the next judges' meeting in April... St. Charles County Associate Judge Norman C. Steimel worries about the officers who show up in his family court. He's never had any problems, but he has had a few hearings where police officers appeared on their own behalf, and they were armed. "I'm in a division that's very emotionally charged," he said. "I'm uncomfortable when they show up with their weapons"... Warren County Sheriff Kevin Harrison, who handles courthouse security there, says he is not surprised that judges might want to take the weapons out of family court. "I would never want to disrespect those officers, but people don't make the best decisions and have the clearest judgment in matters involving their own personal affairs"... In Warren County, officers who are a party to a civil or family case are not allowed to carry their firearms in court. "I am a police officer, and I know so many times in my own peer group where they went through horrible, ugly divorces," he said. "The only thing worse (than) responding to a domestic is responding to a domestic involving one of our own"... [Full article here]

[CT] Manhunt for Officer Morelli's killer has quieted into sadness & the unspoken

What at first seemed like a case of a Norwalk police officer brutally slain on duty progressively turned into a tragedy with more questions than answers... he radioed headquarters that he was getting out of his cruiser to investigate some suspicious activity... A backup officer arriving WITHIN A MINUTE of Morelli's last transmission found his body... A massive manhunt ensued throughout the day as police searched for a suspect... The chief, along with Weston police sergeants Mike Ferullo and Patrick Daubert, and Detective Carl Filsinger, have spent a great deal of time with the Morelli family since Friday, trying to console and help them...

Norwalk police officer shot and killed
Associated Press
By John Christoffersen
March 21, 2008
[Excerpts] ...Officer Matthew Morelli was on routine patrol in the south end of Norwalk early Friday when he radioed headquarters that he was getting out of his cruiser to investigate some suspicious activity in a secluded parking lot. A backup officer arriving WITHIN A MINUTE of Morelli's last transmission found his body. He had been shot, his cruiser nearby. A massive manhunt ensued throughout the day as police searched for a suspect and struggled with their own loss. "Nobody knows what really happened at this point," said police union president Bill Curwen. "The not knowing is what's eating a hole in everybody"... Police have released few details on a suspect and would not say whether Morelli, 38, was ambushed or was wearing a bulletproof vest... Police spokesman Lt. Paul Resnick reassured neighbors that they are not in danger... Angel Baez, 11, said he heard four gunshots early Friday and looked out the window to see lights flashing... Other neighbors reported hearing five or six shots... Another neighbor said officers often parked in the area to do paperwork or have a cup of coffee because it was quiet. Morelli, who had a young daughter, had been a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician. The tall, lanky officer also loved farming and kept llamas, sheep and chickens at his home. "He walked like he had been on a tractor all day... He was very outspoken. If he liked you he told you he liked you. If he didn't like you, he told you. He was a soft and tender guy inside," Curwen said. "There was a hard side to him. Inside he was really like a cupcake"... Morelli joined the Norwalk department in 1996, the same year he was honorably discharged from the Marines after serving in the first Gulf War and was a former Marine intelligence analyst... [Full article here]

Excerpts from press conference touch on family, Morelli's transmissions, suicide, his military service, and that he was a good man with many friends who will be missed...

Weston in shock over police officer's death
Weston Forum, CT
by Patricia Gay
Mar 22, 2008
[Excerpts] Those who knew Matthew Morelli are still in shock as they come to grips with his untimely death... Officer Morelli was shot and died shortly after midnight, Friday, March 21, in the parking lot of the Calvary Reformed Church in Norwalk... According to the Norwalk police, Officer Morelli called police headquarters at 12:26 a.m. to say he was checking something suspicious in the lot. HE THEN MADE A BRIEF CALL TO DISPATCH before his radio went dead... Norwalk police said a rifle, described as an AK-47 or older military-style rifle, was found next to or under Officer Morelli's body... "Matt was a good kid, good Marine, good police officer, and a good man. When he was hired by Norwalk, he told me that was one of the best days of his life," [Weston Police Chief John] Troxell said... The chief, along with Weston police sergeants Mike Ferullo and Patrick Daubert, and Detective Carl Filsinger, have spent a great deal of time with the Morelli family since Friday, trying to console and help them. "The family is distraught, as may be expected," Det. Filsinger said. He knew Officer Morelli for many years. "This is just devastating. It's a loss for every one of us," he said... "He was a good EMT and he played on the department's softball team. What happened is shocking and very sad, because Matt was a very competent and capable police officer," [Weston EMS Director Jon] Weingarten said... Selectman Major said when something tragic like this happens, it is a wake-up call to the community. "We sometimes take for granted the risks our police officers face for our protection"... [Full article here]

Results Delayed in Norwalk Policeman’s Death
Westport Now, CT
03/22
[Excerpts] Autopsy results on the body of a Norwalk police officer who died of a gunshot wound are not likely to be available for weeks, a spokeswoman for the state’s medical examiner said today. She said conclusive results about the circumstances under which Matthew Morelli, 38, died are pending until more studies are concluded. What at first seemed like a case of a Norwalk police officer brutally slain on duty progressively turned into a tragedy with more questions than answers... A divorced Gulf War combat veteran with a young daughter, Morelli served for 11 years on the Norwalk department. [Full article here]
Police found Officer Morelli lying in the Calvary Reformed Church parking lot.

Autopsy On Slain Norwalk Officer Inconclusive, M.E. Says
WNBC
POSTED: March 21, 2008
UPDATED: March 22, 2008
[Excerpts] The cause of death of a veteran Norwalk officer will not be known for another six to 10 weeks... A backup officer arriving within a minute of Morelli's last transmission found his body. He had been shot... "Obviously I received a call no mayor wants to receive," Moccia said. "It's fair to say it's been my toughest day since I've been mayor of the city. I’ve heard a lot of the same things you have but I’m not going to say too much right now," Moccia said. "The family has gone through enough, the town has gone through enough. We’ll just see what sorts out when the final report comes out"... NYPD and Westchester County Police Department helicopters equipped with infrared imaging also assisted officers search for at least one person who is suspected to have fled Lubrano Place on foot... Police have released few details... Police spokesman Lt. Paul Resnick reassured neighbors that they are not in danger... [Full article here]

[FL] Firefighter Alford's stalking charges are a "personal matter"

...CITY LEADERS SAY THE INCIDENT THAT LED TO HIS ARREST WAS A PERSONAL MATTER AND DID NOT TAKE PLACE WHILE HE WAS ON DUTY...

Veteran firefighter arrested for stalking and harassment
WBBH, FL
Adam Freeman
3/21/2008
MARCO ISLAND: A 23-year veteran of the Marco Island Fire Department was arrested Thursday on charges of stalking and making harassing phone calls. Kenneth Alford was taken into custody at his home. The charges facing him are misdemeanors. The Collier County Courthouse was closed Friday for the Good Friday holiday, so many details of the case against Alford are not clear. "I think it's always a surprise when you have a public steward arrested for anything," said Lisa Douglass, spokesperson for the City of Marco Island. But city leaders say the incident that led to his arrest was a personal matter and did not take place while he was on duty. "No one should rush to judgment until all of the facts and findings are in," said Douglass. The fire chief put Alford on administrative duty. He will stay there until the internal and criminal investigations are resolved. Alford's personnel file showed no previous disciplinary action. He has already bonded out of jail.

[GA] Theresa, wife of Sgt. Parker, disappeared 1 year ago

...Mr. Parker, a former LaFayette police sergeant, is charged with his wife’s murder, although no body has been found. Mrs. Parker was reported missing on March 22 a year ago, but the family’s grief is still fresh and heavy...

One Year Anniversary of the Disappearance of Theresa Parker

WDEF News 12
Bethany Mowry
March 21, 2008
March 21, 2008 marks the one year anniversary of the last time anyone saw Theresa Parker alive. The Walker County 9-1-1 dispatcher's disappearance sparked an investigation and media frenzy no one is likely to soon forget. It started with a simple plea -- help us find this missing 9-1-1 dispatcher. "We're stressing that we definitely need the help of the people in the community," Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson said on March 26, 2007. Search crews organized and combed the woods near the home Theresa Parker had shared with her estranged husband, LaFayette Police Sergeant Sam Parker -- it was an effort they would repeat many times over. The search on March 27, 2007 was particularly difficult, Fire Chief Randy Camp said that day,"There are a lot of personal emotions because again, she was a personal friend to a lot of them" Soon after, investigators searched the home itself. Sam Parker became a person of interest, but not a suspect, in the case. After explosives were discovered in his locker at the police department, he was dismissed... Websites and billboards popped up, pleading for information relating to Theresa's disappearance. It would be months before an arrest was made in her murder. But before that arrest, the person in question would appear on a local television show to share his side of the story. In his December 11, 2007 appearance on television, Sam Parker pleaded, "People are going to form their own opinions, and that's fine, but for our families' sake, if you don't know it for fact, don't say it because it hurts so bad." Nearly two months after his appearance, investigators arrested Sam Parker for the murder of his wife Theresa. Now a year after she disappeared, he awaits trial, denied bond. Sam Parker remains in an undisclosed area jail. [Full article here]

A year after Theresa Parker was reported missing, her family, friends still hope for closure
Chattanooga Times Free Press
Chloe Morrison
March 22, 2008
Nearly one year after Walker County 911 dispatcher Theresa Parker disappeared, Hilda Wilson sorted through her missing sister’s belongings, trying to salvage memories. Last week, at the Cordell Road home that Theresa Parker once shared with her husband Sam Parker, Mrs. Wilson found her sister’s belongings haphazardly stuffed into one room and a closet. Mr. Parker, a former LaFayette police sergeant, is charged with his wife’s murder, although no body has been found. Mrs. Parker was reported missing on March 22 a year ago, but the family’s grief is still fresh and heavy. “It was very difficult,” Mrs. Wilson said about going through belongings. “My girls were bawling. For the most part it was really hard and really strange... She is the kind of person who opens the car window and gives money to people on the side of the road”... It has been a long year since Mrs. Parker was reported missing. Months of searching, praying, and appeals to the public and media for information and publicity were followed by months of silence after District Attorney Leigh Patterson was appointed to the case and hushed authorities. Occasional incidents renewed attention. Mr. Parker tried to harm himself. Tip lines and rewards were established. Memorials were held... Sam Parker remained mostly quiet, except to give two interviews to say he did not harm his wife. Initially he alluded that he knew where she was... Then on Feb. 4 Mr. Parker was arrested and charged with his wife’s murder... Mrs. Parker’s co-workers are still hurting one year later. “They don’t go a day without thinking about Theresa,” said Walker County 911 Director David Ashburn. Mrs. Wilson said feelings are still almost unbearable. She said her daughters want to go see their estranged uncle in jail in hopes of finding answers... “It may be the fact that we can’t find her,” she said. “We don’t know where she is but we know she is dead. It is almost like it just happened. It is that pain that is just there"... [Full article here]

Friday, March 21, 2008

[MI] Media forgetting Officer Steele hit her with a baseball bat too?

Previous entry:
[MI] Officer Steele faces life for domestic torture and shots fired
...An off-duty Detroit Police officer was arrested in Canton Township Tuesday for allegedly striking his girlfriend with a baseball bat and firing three rounds from his service revolver... Assistant Prosecutor Scott Ehlfeldt argued for the high cash bond saying [she] is terrified of Steele... The charges against Steele include torture and assault with intent to murder, assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, weapon/firearm discharge in or at a building, and weapons-felony firearm, punishable up to two years...
DETROIT: No pay for officer in assault case
Wayne County news briefs
Detroit Free Press
March 21, 2008
A Detroit police officer charged with assaulting his ex-girlfriend was suspended Thursday without pay. The Detroit Board of Police Commissioners suspended Gary A. Steele, 42, of Canton. He was charged earlier this month with torture and assault with intent to commit murder. Steele was initially suspended with pay following his March 4 arrest for allegedly firing three shots during an argument in a subdivision near Canton Center and Cherry Hill roads. He was off duty at the time. Steele is being held in the Wayne County Jail after failing to post 10% of $5-million bond. He pleaded not guilty in 35th District Court in Plymouth and is scheduled to appear for a preliminary exam April 11. [Source here]
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K., wherever you are, I'm praying for you.

[MN] SPPD's Aaron Foster wants dv-murder case against him dismissed

...Authorities found a letter written by Barbara that night. It read, "I'm not your girlfriend anymore. I will not be abused. I am tired of the bruises. I am somebody and don't have to be treated like a nobody. Strike three you're out"...

Pre-Trial Begins for Man Indicted in 26-Year Cold Case
Barbara Winn died of a gunshot wound 26 years ago. Now, family members and the Ramsey County Sheriff is trying to get the case moving.
FOX9
20 March 2008
Aaron Foster appeared in court Thursday to answer charges that he murdered girlfriend Barbara Winn in 1981. Foster was indicted by a grand jury last November. On that day in May 1981, Barbara and Aaron got into a fight at a St. Paul bar. Upon returning home, they argued, and Barbara was shot. Barbara's children reported seeing Foster flee the town home that night, tossing the gun. Maplewood Police lost the physical evidence in the case. Police believe the evidence was lost when they moved to a new station house. Defense attorney Earl Gray says police intentionally destroyed the evidence, because modern forensics could clear his client. Authorities found a letter written by Barbara that night. It read, "I'm not your girlfriend anymore. I will not be abused. I am tired of the bruises. I am somebody and don't have to be treated like a nobody. Strike three you're out." Winn's children believe she intended to leave Foster the night she was killed. The defense is pushing for other statements to be tossed out before the trial. Foster has been accused of abusing and threatening other wives and girlfriends in the past. The pre-trial will resume Monday. [Source article is here]

Will '81 murder case be tried or dismissed?
The victim's family packed the court as a Ramsey County judge heard arguments for throwing out the case.

Minneapolis Star Tribune, MN
By PAT PHEIFER
March 20, 2008
About a half-hour after a hearing began Thursday in a St. Paul courtroom, the door swung open and family members of Barbara (Bobbi) Winn streamed in and in and in. Soon, at least four dozen people had squeezed into the benches. They have waited nearly 27 years for a case in her death to come to court, and now Ramsey County District Judge Edward Cleary was hearing arguments about dismissing the murder case against Aaron W. Foster and suppressing evidence and statements... Prosecutors declined to charge Foster in 1981, citing insufficient evidence. The case had political overtones when it was reopened in 2006 by the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office during a contentious election race between Sheriff Bob Fletcher and former St. Paul Police Chief Bill Finney, a close friend and ally of Foster... In the years between the two investigations, however, physical evidence in the case, such as clothing, fingernail clippings and items found at the scene, was lost or destroyed... [Defense attorney Earl] Gray also argued that statements Foster made the night of Winn's death should be suppressed because officers did not read him his Miranda rights, and that a search of his person was unlawful. Prosecutor Deidre Aanstad contended that Foster wasn't in custody when he made those statements and he simply emptied his pockets when an officer asked him to. The court also heard testimony from a blood-spatter expert, and three retired Maplewood police officers who investigated the case. Prosecutors are expected to call at least one more witness when the hearing continues Monday... [Full article here]
Ramsey County / All evidence gone in 1981 slaying
Attorney wants suspect Aaron Foster's indictment tossed in case that was reopened in 2006

Pioneer Press
By Emily Gurnon
03/20/2008
The investigation into the 1981 death of Barbara Winn could not have been more botched, including the loss or destruction of all physical evidence in the case, the attorney for Winn's alleged killer argued Thursday. Defense attorney Earl Gray, representing Aaron Walter Foster, argued several motions in Ramsey County District Court, trying to get the indictment against Foster thrown out or to suppress evidence... Authorities say he had abused Winn, his 35-year-old girlfriend, before. He had blood on his hands, got rid of the gun and gave outlandish statements about the events of the night of May 8, 1981, they argue. But Foster maintained Winn shot herself. The county attorney at the time did not press charges. Among the testimony at Thursday's hearing: All evidence in the case is now gone. Gray contends the state intentionally destroyed it to make it harder for Foster to defend himself. To this, Judge Edward Cleary responded, "Well, it goes both ways, doesn't it?" Kenneth Collins spent 32 years with the Maplewood Police Department and was an investigator on the Winn case. He said several items were taken to the St. Paul crime lab for examination, including the gun, a jacket and a shirt Foster had been wearing the night of Winn's death. Collins signed a document that said he had retrieved all but the gun from St. Paul - but there was no evidence those items made it back to the Maplewood police evidence locker. There is no entry in the logbook and no mention in his report... Gray also argued the search of Winn's house was illegal. Police didn't get written consent. When asked where the consent came from, Collins said, "From the Winn children, more than likely that same evening at the police department." Gray later said all three Winn children were younger than 16 at the time and therefore incapable of giving consent. The state, represented by Anoka County assistant attorneys Andrew Johnson and Deidre Aanstad, argued in their written briefs that Foster had consented to the warrantless searches and had invited officers to the scene to assist him. Ramsey County has referred the case to Anoka County to avoid any potential conflicts of interest... [Full article here]