LAWS ENFORCED BY THE
STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Police misconduct refers to inappropriate actions taken by police officers in
connection with their official duties.
Contempt of cop is
law enforcement jargon in the United States for behavior by citizens towards law enforcement officers that the officers perceive
as disrespectful or insufficiently deferential to their authority.
The vast majority
of the law enforcement officers in this country perform their very difficult jobs with respect for their communities and in
compliance with the law. Even so, there are incidents in which this is not the case. This document outlines the laws enforced
by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) that address police misconduct and explains how you can file a complaint
with DOJ if you believe that your rights have been violated.
Federal Criminal Enforcement
It is a crime for one
or more persons acting under color of law willfully to deprive or conspire to deprive another person of any right protected
by the Constitution or laws of the United States. (18 U.S.C. §§ 241, 242). "Color of law" simply means
that the person doing the act is using power given to him or her by a governmental agency (local, State, or Federal). A law
enforcement officer acts "under color of law" even if he or she is exceeding his or her rightful power. The types
of law enforcement misconduct covered by these laws include excessive force, sexual assault, intentional false arrests, or
the intentional fabrication of evidence resulting in a loss of liberty to another. Enforcement of these provisions does not
require that any racial, religious, or other discriminatory motive existed.
|New York State Defenders Association
Current Developments Outside New York
Special Reports Reports Research Links
The Justice Department announced today that it has opened a pattern or practice investigation into allegations of
use of excessive force and discriminatory policing by members of the Seattle Police Department (SPD), pursuant to the pattern
or practice provision of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, the anti-discrimination provisions of
the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For more information,
The Civil Rights Division is on Twitter. Follow us at www.twitter.com/civilrights.
(Raymond Kelly's Attempt to Keep IAB Activity and Stats
on Bad Cops from the Public Eye)
By AL BAKER and JO CRAVEN McGINTY — Saturday, March 27th, 2010 ‘The New York Times’
CASE file: His
night began in the bars of Staten Island, and by 2 a.m., he was buying crack cocaine. Inside his car, he flicked a lighter
and inhaled. He picked up a woman; they got high together. She left after he spotted the authorities.
Case file: A Brooklyn man had a hook with organized crime. He and his wife set up gambling operations
at six spots in Manhattan and Nassau County. When they were arrested, along with her parents and 11 others, investigators
seized cash, slot machines and cars.
Case file: He would lock his mountain bike in a
garage in Jamaica, Queens, then enter a nearby bordello. Once, he even arranged a rendezvous in a pizzeria. Tipped off by
a prostitute — probably angered that he did not pay — detectives caught it all on audio and video.
These are all relatively minor crimes, the stuff of daily precinct logs rather than ripped-from-the-headlines
television drama, but for one thing: In each case, the central character was a cop.
That, by at least one way of reckoning, makes them routine: From 1992 to 2008, nearly 2,000 New York
Police Department officers were arrested, according to the department’s own annual reports of the Internal Affairs Bureau,
an average of 119 a year.
The rarely seen internal reports were obtained last
month by the New York Civil Liberties Union through the Freedom of Information Law. They show that the number of tips logged
each year by Internal Affairs has tripled since 1992, a trend that top police officials attribute to an opening up of the
process and more diligent cataloging of public response to police interactions — including compliments as well as complaints.
The number of investigations pursued over the same period has dropped by more than half, which Chief Charles V. Campisi, who
runs the unit, called “the truest reflection of the corruption the department faces.”
Most of those investigations involved drugs, theft or crimes like fraud, bribery or sex offenses,
on and off the job. Inquiries in these categories have largely decreased in recent years, but cases involving abuse of suspects
have risen significantly. The 2006 report noted the “unprecedented” rise and gave an example: several officers
followed a woman wanted for petty larceny into a store and one “struck her in the head with his firearm for no reason.”
“History tells us there always will be bad cops, and the department
will never be able to completely control that,” said Christopher T. Dunn, associate legal director of the civil liberties
union, who has spent weeks studying the documents. “But what it can control, and what it should be held accountable
for, is how it responds to corruption.”
For better or worse,
the police are left to police themselves, and the reports, which together total more than 600 pages, provide the most comprehensive
record available chronicling that imperfect science. They tell a colorful story not only of officers who betray the badge
but also of the little-known agency charged with rooting them out.
has long been a Hollywood fascination, and derided among the rank and file as the “rat squad” since so many cases
depend on one cop snitching on another. Officers who work there are, therefore, called “cheese eaters,” while
rogue officers have been known as “grass eaters” (those who peddle in low-level but pervasive wrongdoing) and
“meat eaters” (who are more aggressive or violent).
It took its
current form in 1993, after Officer Michael Dowd and several colleagues were arrested on Long Island on charges of selling
cocaine, prompting a disgusted Raymond W. Kelly, in his first stint as police commissioner, to overhaul the internal affairs
“I am always concerned about corruption,” Mr. Kelly,
who returned as commissioner in 2002, said in an interview. “For me, myself, personally, it is absolutely critical to
the good order, to the function of this department, that we have a well-staffed, a well-trained, a proactive Internal Affairs
Bureau, and that’s what we have.”
The reports themselves
have changed much over the years: from 81 typewritten pages packed with statistics in 1993, to 99 pages of glossy photographs
but scant specifics in 2006, to a pair of skimpy 15-page summaries in 2007 and 2008. Year in, year out, they contain head-scratching
examples of people sworn to uphold the law breaking it instead.
banks. They collude with drug dealers. They pilfer credit cards from prisoners to buy groceries, and they take payoffs from
street peddlers as protection money. Sex is often at the center of their sins.
on the mountain bike was Damian A. Conlon, who was a 34-year-old officer on the bicycle patrol in the 103rd Precinct in Queens
in 1999. Internal Affairs investigators watched him ride from the station house to the brothel, during his shift, wearing
his uniform. They watched him walk inside, heard a manager instruct a prostitute to have sex with him and heard her say not
to charge him. Mr. Conlon pleaded guilty to official misconduct, paid a $1,000 fine and quit.
FOR as long as there have been police officers, there have been cycles of corruption: renegades,
scandals, reforms — more renegades.
In 1894, the Lexow Commission’s inquiry into
brothel owners and gambling den runners paying off officers led to Theodore Roosevelt’s being named president of a Board
of Police Commissioners. Next was the Becker Scandal of 1912: Lt. Charles Becker hired four gunmen to rub out a gambler who
was tipping prosecutors to police payoffs. The Seabury Investigation of 1930 exposed vice
officers shaking down prostitutes, and police officers and politicians in the grip of organized crime. In 1950, a scandal
involving a Brooklyn bookmaker named Harry Gross, who had enlisted officers as muscle for his $20-million-a-year operation,
led to the resignation of Mayor William O’Dwyer and his police commissioner.
The early 1970s brought the Knapp Commission and its tales of pervasive corruption. Two decades later came
Officer Dowd — and the birth of the current Internal Affairs Bureau, when Commissioner Kelly declared the operation
a mess and chose Walter Mack, a former federal prosecutor, to clean it up.
was given equal footing with the detective, patrol and personnel bureaus, headed by a three-star chief; assignments there
were no longer all voluntary. The idea, Mr. Mack said in a recent interview, was “to elevate it, with new personnel,
a different management structure, to change what had been perceived, and what was criticized, as an organization not functioning
the way it should be.”
And to start issuing annual reports. They were sent
to the commissioner and his top brass, though more recently they have also gone to the Commission to Combat Police Corruption.
As historical documents, the reports do not form a coherent narrative,
with many statistics and categories disappearing from year to year without explanation. (The reports turned over to the Civil
Liberties Union were also missing 47 pages, which the department said was to protect current or future investigations.) The
changes reflect the priorities of each of four police commissioners, the broader crime scene, the improving technology.
The 1993 report is old-school — right down to the font of the typewriters — and quotes a
study that found the bureau’s predecessor agency “had become ineffective due to a bifurcated system of accountability
and control.” The 1994 report reflects the arrival of Commissioner William J. Bratton, trumpeting the need to track
and analyze “integrity” issues, and promising to open the “investigatory process” to precinct commanders
and others. “In the past, internal affairs operations were shrouded in secrecy, closed
off from the rest of the department,” it says. “Much has been done over the last year to change this isolation
In 1995, the phenomenon of “testilying” — when
officers lie in court — is introduced. The following year’s report adds perjury as a corruption category and has
a page titled, “Truth in Testimony,” including a policy from the new commissioner, Howard Safir, that calls for
firing any officer who lies, absent exceptional circumstances.
in 2000, under Bernard B. Kerik, echoes the idea that the CompStat system of mapping crime to fight it can also be used to
track “internal crime.” But later reports have less, not more, data; in 2003, for instance, the number of drug
tests conducted is not included, and you cannot tell how many of those who failed were uniformed officers.
“These reports depict a department that, in the mid-1990s, was candid about its anticorruption
work,” said Mr. Dunn, of the civil liberties union. “The recent reports, by contrast, reveal almost nothing, signaling
an N.Y.P.D. that seems unwilling to confront corruption.”
Kelly said the reports had gotten thinner partly because of his longevity in the department and familiarity with Internal
Affairs. He meets daily with Chief Campisi, the bureau’s leader, and is regularly briefed on the disposition of its
cases, arrests of officers, and the results of integrity testing — undercover setups to see whether officers will do
“Nobody has been more involved in the day-to-day workings
of internal investigations than I have,” Mr. Kelly said. “It takes a lot of time to produce a document like that,
and it is an internal document — to be driven by a need that we see in the organization for it, rather than just putting
together lots of numbers.”
The Internal Affairs budget has increased,
to $61.8 million this year from $43 million in 2000; Chief Campisi said there are currently 650 uniformed officers, up from
604 in 2000. Among many other things, Internal Affairs has a vehicle enforcement unit that,
last year, issued 1,664 summonses to police vehicles whose drivers were misusing their special parking placards by, for example,
blocking a loading zone or fire hydrant. The unit is run by two lieutenants and works with two tow trucks, and its work has
angered some in the ranks and mystified others.
“They seem like they
kind of lost their way a bit,” said one former Internal Affairs commander, speaking on the condition of anonymity for
fear of offending colleagues.
PAGES 12 and 13 of the 2006 report feature
a photo of a gleaming New York skyline, overlaid with a fever chart whose two diverging lines resemble an alligator’s
open mouth. The top line shows the mounting tips that poured in over the years, mainly from civilians, officers and other
agencies; the bottom one marks the declining number of cases the bureau pursued. In 1994,
Internal Affairs logged more than 14,700 tips and investigated 2,258, or about 15 percent. In 2006, the department received
nearly 45,000 tips and investigated 1,057, about 2 percent. Police officials attributed the growth in tips to the 311 system
the city started in 2003, the advent of e-mail and a broader willingness among civilians to report problems in general.
They noted that tips — which the reports sometimes call “logs,” “complaints”
or “allegations” — are not always secret and might include benign items like notices from the Department
of Motor Vehicles of insurance lapses, expired tickets or other infractions by people with names similar to officers’;
calls from emotionally disturbed people like one who routinely reports a phantom police helicopter flying overhead; items
relating to police officers outside the city; reporter questions; and even praise for officers. Chief Campisi said that the 2006 report, which he signed, was wrong to link tips and investigations — “It
should have been two charts” — and that earlier reports, particularly those in 1996 and 1998, were poorly written.
Corruption cases are divided into more than a dozen categories in
the reports, from violation of departmental regulations to serious felonies. In each of the last 16 years, two-thirds to three-quarters
of the offenses involved narcotics, theft and what the department refers to as “other crimes” — like fraud,
assault, drunken driving and domestic violence. Narcotics offenses dropped sharply, to
213 cases in 2008, from 653 in 1993. At the same time, cases involving stolen property grew, to 394 in 2008 from 367 in 1993.
Meanwhile, “abuse of department regulations,” as the reports call it — drinking or sleeping on duty, say
— more than doubled, to 154 in 2008 from 64 in 1993. And the number of instances in which officers were accused of injuring
or assaulting suspects or making false arrests soared to more than 180 in each of 2006 and 2007, from 10 in 1993.
The number of officers arrested reached a high of 167 in 1995 — as the department itself
swelled with the absorption of the Housing and Transit Bureaus — and then fell fairly steadily to 86 in 2004. Since
then, despite the shrinking of the ranks and the decline in crime, arrests crept up, to 124 in 2008. The reports also chronicle the Police Department’s routine drug tests; through the years, officers were most
often caught having used cocaine. The testing peaked in 1996, with 16,194 random tests, and 61 officers failing. In 2008,
10 officers failed drug tests, but it is difficult to gauge the significance of the number since the report does not say how
many tests were administered.
Similarly, the reports’ accounts of integrity
tests are inconsistent. Only 3 of the 16 annual reports include the number of both tests and failures; the most recent, in
2002, showed 486 tests and 54 failures, including 15 for criminal misconduct, 36 for procedural problems and 3 for supervisory
Chief Campisi said the omissions were by design. “I
don’t like anyone to know the number of tests we do,” he explained. “Part of our integrity-test program
is that by keeping it secret we’re trying to create the impression that every encounter an officer has might be an Internal
Affairs Bureau test.” WHILE it has been years since the last major scandal,
there is no shortage of individual misconduct cases: two officers charged in separate incidents last fall with killing pedestrians
while driving drunk; another indicted in December for helping a friend run a cocaine distribution operation; two more arrested
Feb. 9 for using their badges and guns in a perfume heist at a New Jersey warehouse.
And then there is the case of Sgt. William J. Lewis, who was fired March 9 after a 25-year career in the Police Department,
the last few years of which he felt hunted by Internal Affairs. Since 2006, he has faced six separate sets of Internal Affairs
charges for running afoul of department regulations; in November, he was arrested by federal agents, accused of withdrawing
cash in 25 chunks under $10,000 over 25 days to avoid notice by the Internal Revenue Service.
The Internal Affairs cases against Mr. Lewis mostly concerned seemingly small stuff: failing to
report a change of address, owning a rental property in his precinct, engaging in off-duty employment without authorization.
But in 2008, the department accused him of tipping off the operator of Beer Goggles, a Staten Island bar, to an undercover
investigation. The case led to a Police Department trial, in which a prime piece of evidence
was a computer-generated database of Mr. Lewis’s phone records. Only it turned out the records were inaccurate. Martin
G. Karopkin, the department’s deputy commissioner of trials, declared in a written decision that the case was “based
on hearsay, conclusions unsupported by evidence and assumptions that do not make sense.” Mr. Lewis was acquitted. He went on trial in federal court in Brooklyn on March 15, six days after losing his job. Internal Affairs
investigators were in the courtroom, observing — something Mr. Lewis’s lawyers question, since he no longer was
on the force, but Chief Campisi defended as routine to record the culmination of Internal Affairs cases. He was acquitted
March 18. Now his lawyers are claiming wrongful termination in hopes of regaining his pension,
and are threatening a federal civil rights lawsuit over his treatment by the Internal Affairs Bureau.
“In their quest to get an individual, they lose sight of the purposes of their job,”
said Eric Franz, one of the lawyers. “In this case, they did incomplete investigations, put forth shoddy evidence and
turned a blind eye to exculpatory information.” Mr. Lewis did admit several departmental
violations, and was found guilty of others: Failing to properly read and sign the memo books of the police officers under
his supervision. Not informing the department that his sister worked in a bar in his jurisdiction. Referring an extermination
job in the precinct to a contractor who had worked for him, a conflict of interest. Police
officials shrugged off criticism over the handling of his case, confident they had rid the department of a problem officer.
Danziger Bridge case suggests culture of corruption
By Brendan McCarthy and Laura Maggi — Monday, March 22nd, 2010 ‘The Times-Picayune’ / New Orleans,
When an investigator
needed an identity for a fabricated witness in the Danziger Bridge police shooting, prosecutors say, he looked to his fellow
officers for help.
somebody give me a name!" the veteran NOPD supervisor allegedly called out to a group of officers. Another cop, former
New Orleans police detective Jeffrey Lehrmann, said he chimed in, offering up "Lakeisha," a fictitious female who
could back up the police version of events.
Later, when officers needed
evidence to back up their claims, the same investigator allegedly drove Lehrmann and two sergeants to his home, where he plucked
a clean, untraceable gun from a storage container in his garage. With a flair for comedy, the investigator allegedly called
the weapon he later placed into evidence a "ham sandwich."
of a coordinated cover-up and conspiracy don't end there. Prosecutors say officers also held a secret meeting in a gutted-out
police station to talk about their plans, and that supervisors colluded with other ranking officers to make sure their concocted
stories rang true.
Even in a town where residents have long cast a suspicious eye on the police force, the allegations
in the Danziger case seem almost too cinematic to be real. But two officers, Lehrmann and Lt. Michael Lohman, both of whom
now likely face prison time, have already attested that they're true.
pleas raise a key question: Do the misdeeds signify a few rotten apples at NOPD or reveal an entire culture of corruption?
The extent of the alleged cover-up, the sheer number of cops involved or implicated, and the nonchalance
with which officers carried out these crimes could point to systemic problems in the police force, both experts and local
criminal justice observers say. Court documents so far implicate at least eight officers, and more allegations are sure to
As portrayed by prosecutors, the collusion between all these
officers was casual, familiar -- almost a matter of routine. When the investigator said he had a gun that could be planted
and used in the case, the two former officers admit their reply was not shock but a pointed question: Is the weapon clean?
Moreover, the fact that one officer was not afraid to ask such a self-incriminating question of his
superior suggests he knew his boss would be comfortable with a planted gun -- or at least that his boss would not report him.
"It's chilling, it's disheartening," said Rafael Goyeneche, president of the watchdog
Metropolitan Crime Commission, adding that he and others are bracing for more cringe-worthy revelations. "We are only
at the beginning of what are going to be darker and more disturbing disclosures regarding police conduct. If this is a marathon,
we have not even lost sight of the starting line yet."
a Tulane University criminologist, said the Danziger revelations leave open the question of how deep the department's
"You really need a qualitative study. You really need to
assess that issue in a serious way," Scharf said. The details about the ham sandwich that turned out to be a gun suggest
that there are "remnants of the culture where you fix things rather than investigate" within the NOPD, he said.
Scharf noted that some of the involved officers, such as Lohman and
others implicated in his guilty plea, are products of the NOPD's admittedly troubled past in the 1980s and early 1990s.
"That's a lot of history to undo," he said.
Attard, a police practices consultant who previously worked in civilian oversight of police misconduct cases, agreed that
the confessions in the court document were "shocking" and suggested the need for an independent investigation of
the NOPD. The kind of probe that is needed is a "policy and practice study" conducted by an outside organization,
preferably the Justice Department's civil division, she said. More charges are expected in the Danziger case, which is
just one of at least seven open federal probes into the NOPD. The scope of the effort has forced the local FBI field office
to expand and assign more agents to its civil-rights squad; Washington-based prosecutors from the U.S. Department of Justice
have also encamped here.
Still, Capt. Michael Glasser, president of the
Police Association of New Orleans, says it would be a mistake to conclude the department suffers from a culture of corruption.
"There's no doubt that some things were done that were improper,
but to the level and extent that they were done, it had nothing to do with any culture that could exist," Glasser said.
Glasser pointed out that the officers under federal scrutiny represent fewer than 1 percent of the
1,600-plus commissioned officers on the force.
"When you look at
how many people are involved in the organization, it is not as pervasive as it appears," Glasser said.
Stephen London, who represents Sgt. Arthur Kaufman -- the investigator in the Danziger case and the recipient of a target
letter from the feds -- likewise believes that the probes overstate the extent of corruption. "You can't paint a
broad brush over the police department because of the actions of a few officers during these circumstances," he said.
Glasser, a veteran cop and longtime police representative, acknowledged
that some of the acts officers admitted are likely rooted in fact. But he warned that what the guilty officers have said about
others should be taken with a grain of salt.
"When people cooperate
in exchange for things, very often they embellish things in order to enhance their own bargaining position," Glasser
London added that Lohman "is the guy that wrote the report.
He is the guy that ordered the investigator to turn the report in. We just all of a sudden assumed that because he got his
hand caught in the cookie jar, that everybody else had their hand in there."
Former FBI agent Edward Tully argues in an article published by the National Executive Institute Associates -- a
group that trains top police leaders -- that corruption will exist in any organization that does not have a specific code
of conduct, tolerates lax supervision, and condones actions that suggest officers are above the law.
The Danziger pleas have highlighted some of those problems in NOPD's command structure. Superintendent
Warren Riley said publicly after the pleas that he never read the department's own internal investigation of the incident,
in which police shot six civilians, two fatally. Well before Danziger, Riley had come under fire by some rank-and-file officers
for what they considered inconsistent disciplinary practices. In one recent case, for instance, Riley reduced the suspension
of an officer who admitted systematic payroll fraud from 80 days to 30 days. Soon thereafter, the officer was promoted.
While the attitudes of police brass are important, Tully maintains the most important position within
a police force in terms of departmental culture is the sergeant. The sergeant is the front-line supervisor who implements
policy, monitors conduct of officers, and directs the department's strategies.
Several NOPD sergeants are implicated in the recent Danziger court filings. Their actions, according to federal prosecutors,
range from fabricating witnesses and planting evidence to coaching false statements and making sure other officers went along
with the cover-up.
The scandal is easily the worst the department
has had to endure since the mid-90s. During a time when the city was enduring more than 400 murders a year, the world watched
in shock as the FBI hauled in Len Davis, a murderous cop and drug ring leader, and Antoinette Frank, a young officer who killed
another cop and two others in a restaurant robbery.
For people in some New
Orleans neighborhoods, the admitted bad behavior by Lohman and Lehrmann is not what elicited shock, it was the fact that any
New Orleans police officer "told on" fellow cops, said community activist Norris Henderson.
Many New Orleanians believe the actions described in the Danziger guilty pleas are more widespread
than the court documents themselves suggest, Henderson said. He noted that after Frank's arrest, police reconsidered an
armed robbery arrest she made, deciding she was the actual perpetrator. That man later testified against her in court.
"This long history of this makes it hard to think this is an isolated incident," he said.
Citizen outrage prompted reform in the department, including the addition of FBI agents working within
the NOPD's internal affairs unit.
But Samuel Walker, a University of Nebraska criminal
justice professor who has written two books about police accountability, said corruption remains "deeply ingrained"
within the NOPD. Walker studied the department and its internal affairs unit in 1998.
"I got the sense that the reforms never really took root," he said last week.
Rooting out corruption, Walker said, goes beyond prosecuting officers for crimes. He observed that
prosecuting individual officers doesn't have a great impact on the whole.
the barrel is rotten, what good does it do to replace a few rotten apples? You have to replace the barrel," he said.
One component of reform, Walker noted, is for civic and political leaders to demand accountability.
"In that regard, New Orleans stands out," he said. "The city has tolerated corruption
in ways that are far different from other cities."
Story Highlights• NEW: Chief, 3 officers plead not guilty in brutality case
Vacationer on Fire Island had been picked up for littering
• Samuel Gilberd was allegedly beaten so badly his bladder
• D.A. calls Ocean Beach cops "thugs in police uniforms"
RIVERHEAD, New York (AP) -- The acting police chief and three officers in a small resort town on Fire Island were
indicted Tuesday in the beating of a vacationer who had been picked up for littering.
The victim was beaten so severely he suffered severe internal injuries, including a ruptured bladder that required 10 days
in a hospital, Assistant District Attorney Bob Biancavilla said.
Acting Chief George Hesse pleaded not guilty Tuesday to first-degree assault, gang assault and unlawful imprisonment in
the August 2005 beating of tourist Samuel Gilberd, a software executive from New York City.
"It was a police department gone wild," Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota told a news conference afterward.
"There was no control at all."
They "acted as thugs in police uniforms," he said.
Hesse attorney William Keahon said the indictment "means nothing."
"The presumption is my client is innocent," he said.
Hesse posted $100,000 bail.
The three other defendants were charged with unlawful imprisonment, reckless endangerment and hindering prosecution. Officers
Paul Carollo, Arnold Hardman, and William Emburey are accused of filing a false report about the incident and failing to get
prompt medical attention for the victim. Each posted $10,000 bail.
All four defendants, who displayed no visible emotion, were ordered to return to court April 20.
Emburey's lawyer, John Ray, said the incident occurred on his client's first night on the job. He said Emburey had nothing
to do with the allegations and was charged only because the it occurred on his shift.
A week after the alleged beating, Gilberd was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, allegations the district
attorney subsequently dismissed. Gilberd has filed a $22 million federal lawsuit against the village and its police.
Ocean Beach is a popular tourist destination whose population swells from 138 year-round residents to more than 6,000 summer
renters and day-trippers. The village is nicknamed the "Land of No" because of odd ordinances such as a ban on eating cookies
on public walkways.
Ocean Beach Mayor Joseph Loeffler declined to comment.
The Ocean Beach police department, which has 2 full-time members and 24 part-time members, had been the subject of a county
grand jury probe since December.
Last week, five former police officers claimed they were wrongfully fired by Hesse, who they said associated with a drug
dealer, had sex in department headquarters and covered up cases of brutality. In an interview with Newsday, Hesse would not
say why he fired the five officers.
Doug Wigdor, a former prosecutor who is representing the five officers in a wrongful-termination lawsuit, claimed Hesse
was "running the police department like a fraternity house."
Village and police officials have declined to comment on the lawsuit. The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court seeks millions
in damages -- an exact amount will be determined at trial -- and the restoration of their jobs.
At the time, the officers said they were targeted by the acting chief over fears they were cooperating with the Suffolk
County inquiry into corruption in the department. Their lawyer said they were cooperating now that they had been fired.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Retired cop: Financial records should've been priority
(Ret. NYPD Homicide Det. Augustine Papay Criticism Provokes
Defensive Reaction by New Jersey Law Enforcement) By Molly
Bloom - Monday, March 7th, 2005 'The Jersey Journal' / Jersey City, NJ
Ten days after police made the gruesome discovery of a slain family of four in the Jersey
City Heights on Jan. 14, investigators were still unaware that the father had an ATM card - or that it had been used to withdraw
thousands of dollars from his bank account.
Once a day or so, starting on the day after investigators believe the slayings took place, prosecutors say one of the
suspects would visit a Bank of America branch and withdraw a few hundred dollars. More than $3,000 was drained from the victim's
account before the bank cut off the ATM card because of the unusual pattern of withdrawals.
Videotapes of those transactions, made once a day or so, eventually led authorities to two convicted drug dealers who
are now charged with the slayings - but only after weeks of fruitless investigation had led detectives down blind alleys of
religious hatred and Internet death threats.
The sequence of events raised questions about whether the bank transactions should have been detected more quickly
and whether theories that the Coptic Christian family had been targeted by Muslim fanatics threw the investigation off stride.
There were so many different theories put on the table early on, some by law enforcement and some by the public," said
Joseph Billy, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Newark office. "There was hate
written all over this crime, in terms of violence and magnitude. But at the same time, there was nothing coming on to the
investigators' table that suggested this was done by any kind of extremism, beyond the violence of it."
The violence of it - the fact that Hossam Armanious, 47, his wife Amal Garas, 37, and their daughters, Sylvia, 16,
and Monica, 9, all had been bound, gagged and stabbed to death - led the victims' relatives and friends to believe simple
robbery could not have been the motive. But prosecutors say the killings were committed to cover
up a robbery after Monica recognized one of the masked intruders as Edward McDonald, the tenant from the small two-bedroom
Investigators did not learn of the ATM transactions themselves until they intercepted a letter from the bank indicating
Armanious' account had been shut down. That letter arrived the week of Jan. 24, Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio
DeFazio was unable to specify the date that investigators requested financial information from the Bank of America.
Bank of America spokesperson Tara Murphy-Burke would not say yesterday when or if the bank had received a court order regarding
Armanious's accounts, citing the bank's policy of not commenting on specific law enforcement cases.
"If we received a court order, we absolutely fully complied with it," she said.
DeFazio said obtaining court orders and getting the records of Armanious' bank account took weeks. "It does take time,
this is not stuff you get in 72 hours," he said. "There was absolutely no inordinate delay by anybody involved here."
questioned the delay. Augustine Papay, a retired homicide detective with the New York City Police Department,
said a victim's financial records are the first thing investigators should obtain and
that should take only hours, not days.
“I'm not trying to Monday morning quarterback, but this guy was able to run around (withdrawing money) for five
days and then the bank had to send a letter?" Papay said. "Somebody wasn't paying attention to the financial part of the investigation."
DeFazio called criticism of the investigation timeline "unfair and misdirected."
"Maybe they don't use court orders and stuff like that
in New York City, but we don't do it like that. If you want to do things right and according to the law, that takes some time,"
"Dozens" of investigators from the Hudson County
Prosecutor's Office, the FBI, the Jersey City
Police Department, the New Jersey State Police and the U.S. Marshals for the District of New Jersey were involved in the
investigation, he said. "There was just a tremendous level of dedication to
pursuing the killers and an extraordinary amount of hours went into this investigation," said DeFazio.
Once they learned of the withdrawals, detectives obtained bank security videos, and in one they recognized McDonald.
DeFazio said his investigators were looking into financial motives from the start. But he also said rumors that
Armanious, a devout Coptic Christian, had received death threats from Muslims in a religious chat room proved a "hindrance"
to the investigation. "It had to be looked into, we had no choice," he said. "But certainly there were
resources dedicated to that which maybe could have been used for other purposes."
Newhouse News Service staff writers Brian Donohue, Russell Ben-Ali, Joe Malinconico and Jeff
Diamant contributed to this report.
The Justice Department announced today that it has opened a civil
pattern or practice investigation into the Newark, N.J., Police Department involving allegations of use of excessive force,
discriminatory policing, whether detainees confined to holding cells are subjected to unreasonable risk of harm and whether
officers retaliate against citizens who legally attempt to observe or record police activity. The investigation is in accordance
with the pattern or practice provision of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, the anti-discrimination
provisions of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. To read
more, click here.
Rights Division is on Twitter. Follow us at www.twitter.com/civilrights.
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NEW YORK (AP) -- Two police detectives led double lives as Mafia hitmen, kidnapping and killing
rival gangsters and giving confidential information to the mob for more than a decade, federal prosecutors charged Thursday.
The New York Times
March 11, 2005
By WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM
Two retired New York City police detectives, onetime partners who had long been suspected of
ties to organized crime, were charged by federal prosecutors yesterday with taking part in eight murders on behalf of the
Mafia - most while one or both were still active members of the police force.
The charges, detailed in an indictment unsealed in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, were
among the most startling allegations of police corruption in memory. In one case, in 1990, prosecutors said the detectives,
driving an unmarked police car, pulled over a Mafia captain on the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn and shot him to death for a rival
mob figure. In another, in 1986, they flashed their badges and kidnapped a mobster, threw him in the trunk of their car and
delivered him to a rival, who tortured and killed him.
"In a stunning betrayal of their shields, their colleagues and the citizens they were sworn
to protect, Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa secretly worked on the payroll of the mob while they were members of the
N.Y.P.D," the United States attorney in Brooklyn, Roslynn R. Mauskopf, said at a news conference to announce the indictment.
For years, Ms. Mauskopf charged, the men had been paid handsomely for their role in the killings
and for routinely funneling secret information about criminal investigations to other members of organized crime. In most
of the killings, she said, they did not pull the trigger but helped other hit men track down the victims, at one point becoming
so instrumental that they were put on the mob's payroll at $4,000 a month.
Mr. Eppolito, 56, who once co-wrote a book about his life as a police officer whose relatives
were in the mob, and Mr. Caracappa, 63, who worked in a police unit that was responsible for investigating mob killings, were
arrested on Wednesday night at an Italian restaurant in Las Vegas, Ms. Mauskopf said. Mr. Eppolito retired in 1990, Mr. Caracappa
two years later.
For more than a decade, the men, while collecting their police pensions, have lived across
the street from one another in an affluent gated community in Las Vegas, Mr. Caracappa working as a private investigator and
Mr. Eppolito playing bit parts in nearly a dozen popular movies, including "Goodfellas" - portraying mobsters, hoodlums and
drug dealers. They appeared in Federal District Court in Las Vegas last night, where an acting United States magistrate judge,
Jennifer Togliatti, postponed an extradition hearing until today.
The charges, dramatic as they are, were not entirely surprising: the pair were investigated
by the F.B.I. and the New York Police Department in 1994 after a Mafia informant provided officials with many details of the
killings. But the informant, who prosecutors said had commissioned many of the crimes, was later discredited, and federal
authorities at the time were unable to build a prosecutable case, officials said yesterday.
But now, with a new informant, whose name was not disclosed, and a team of what Ms. Mauskopf
called tenacious investigators, several of them also retired city police detectives, the authorities were able to collect
enough evidence over several years to persuade a grand jury to indict the men.
The former detectives were charged with a racketeering conspiracy, which includes their roles
in the killings, two attempted murders, obstruction of justice, money laundering and other crimes. The indictment accuses
them of working as secret associates of the Luchese crime family. They are charged with disclosing the identity of six cooperating
witnesses - three of whom were killed - and compromising several federal and state investigations.
None of the eight murders charged in the case - all but one involving victims who were organized
crime figures - occurred after the first, failed attempt to make a case against the men.
Mr. Eppolito's lawyer, Richard A. Schonfeld, said his client "absolutely denies the charges"
and cited what he called an exemplary 21-year police career, with 107 medals, including several for valor, in arguing that
he should be released.
Edward Hayes, a lawyer in New York who represented Mr. Caracappa when he was under investigation
more than a decade ago, said he was shocked at the charges. He said the mob figure who made the accusations at that time,
Anthony Casso, was "a homicidal maniac" and "a raving lunatic." He said his client, a Vietnam combat veteran who retired as
a first-grade detective, had denied the allegations before.
The charges against the two men, who face up to life in prison if convicted, will be resolved
over the coming months, or perhaps years, in Federal District Court in Brooklyn. But the accusations themselves are a bizarre
and breathtaking chapter in the history of corrupt police officers, mobsters and murder.
Both men joined the force in 1969, a year in which the city, with abbreviated background checks,
hired an unusual number of officers who were later arrested or fired. Mr. Eppolito had relatives in organized crime - his
father, Ralph, was called Fat the Gangster and his uncle, James, was known as Jimmy the Clam. But Mr. Eppolito did not disclose
any of that on his police application.
He went on to serve as a patrol officer and detective, working in the Brooklyn Robbery Squad
and in South Brooklyn. And after he retired, he wrote, with Bob Drury, "Mafia Cop: The Story of an Honest Cop Whose Family
Was the Mob," in which he chronicled what he said were wrongful accusations brought by the Police Department that he sold
information to the mob. Mr. Eppolito was cleared of charges brought against him by the department in that case in 1985.
Mr. Caracappa, who was Mr. Eppolito's partner in the robbery unit, went on to join the department's
prestigious Major Case Squad, where he helped form the Organized Crime Homicide Unit. There, he specialized in the Luchese
family and served as a clearinghouse on police and F.B.I. investigations into all mob killings, collecting information. It
was information, prosecutors now allege, that he sold to members of the Mafia - revealing the identities of confidential informants,
wiretaps and pending cases. In one instance, the information allowed Mr. Casso and the Luchese family boss to flee before
they were indicted.
One of the killings involved a case of mistaken identity. Mr. Casso, eager to avenge an attempt
on his own life in 1986, asked the two detectives to track down a Gambino family soldier named Nicholas Guido, according to
prosecutors. But when Mr. Caracappa used a Police Department computer database to find an address for the man, he retrieved
the address for the wrong Nicholas Guido, according to prosecutors, and instead turned over the address of an innocent man
who officials said was mildly retarded.
Mob killers found the wrong Mr. Guido outside his home on Christmas Day 1986. They shot and
Joe Schoenmann, in Las Vegas, contributed reporting for this article.
March 23, 2005
Officer in Murder Case Got Benefit of Doubt in '85By
WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM
t was in March 1984 that F.B.I. agents searched the New Jersey home of a heroin trafficker and made what they
felt was a stunning discovery: dozens of documents from the New York City Police Department's files on the heroin dealer,
a Mafia operative named Rosario Gambino. Even more surprising, two of the documents bore the fingerprints of a New York police
Thus it was some two decades ago that the Police Department, according to current and former officials, had
its first real chance to weed out a man now accused of being a rogue officer - a brash, highly decorated investigator named
Louis Eppolito, whose father, uncle and grandfather were organized crime figures.
Interviews and documents show that an investigation was conducted by the department's Internal Affairs Division,
that formal charges were brought against the detective, accusing him of disclosing police secrets to the mob, and that a full-blown
departmental trial was held. But little came of it. The deputy police commissioner charged with handling the case ultimately
decided that the department had failed to present sufficient evidence to fire the detective - a decision endorsed at the time
by the police commissioner himself.
Detective Eppolito remained on the force for nearly five more years, earning a promotion, and, according to
a sensational federal indictment announced two weeks ago, cementing his ties to organized crime by participating in the murders
of more than a half-dozen people, most of them mob figures. The new charges, which also accuse him of disclosing information
about pending investigations to mob figures and revealing the identities of confidential informants, include some of the most
stunning accusations of corruption in the department's history.
Hugh H. Mo, the deputy commissioner who cleared Mr. Eppolito in 1985, defended his decision in recent interviews,
saying the that at the time, the case was circumstantial, and that his ruling was intensively reviewed within the department.
He said he was shocked by the recent federal indictments against Mr. Eppolito and his former partner, which were announced
earlier this month.
"It's hard to second-guess - these cases are tough cases," Mr. Mo, who is now a lawyer in private practice,
said, referring to the charges brought against Mr. Eppolito on April 4, 1984. "He got the benefit of the doubt."
Lawyers for Mr. Eppolito and his old partner, Stephen Caracappa, have denied the federal charges, deriding
the accusations as the rehashed and discredited claims of embittered organized crime figures who are behind bars.
The story of the department's suspicions, and of Mr. Eppolito's trial, has been alluded to since he and Mr.
Caracappa were arrested on the racketeering and murder charges two weeks ago in Las Vegas, where they have lived for roughly
But interviews with Mr. Mo and others, as well as his written decision in the case, offer new details about
what many agree may well have been a significant missed opportunity to cut short Mr. Eppolito's career.
Mr. Mo himself, for instance, concedes that the chief of detectives who was Mr. Eppolito's boss told him back
in 1985 that he had made a mistake. As well, Mr. Mo acknowledges that he was convinced enough of Mr. Eppolito's innocence
that he later accepted a signed copy of the detective's autobiography - with a gushing inscription calling him "a real man"
who had the courage to clear the detective. And Mr. Mo said he wrote a thank-you note in return, a memento that those who
arrested Mr. Eppolito found hanging in his trophy room in Las Vegas.
In his April 10, 1985, decision, Mr. Mo determined that the confidential police files had been in Mr. Eppolito's
possession, and evidence presented showed that he had a legitimate reason to have them. Mr. Mo also found that the papers,
or copies of them, had certainly wound up in the home of Mr. Gambino.
But Mr. Mo, who once worked in the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau, ultimately
found that he had no evidence that tied Mr. Eppolito to the transfer of the documents to Mr. Gambino.
"This court cannot speculate as to how those documents came into Gambino's possession," Mr. Mo wrote. "The
mere fact that the respondent was reportedly the last known person who had possession of those documents is certainly legally
insufficient to support the charge that he passed them to Gambino or some third party."
Mr. Eppolito himself scoffed at the department investigation and trial in his 1992 book, "Mafia Cop: the Story
of an Honest Cop Whose Family Was the Mob," written with Bob Drury.
He wrote that the fingerprints were in fact photocopies of his fingerprints, and suggested that anyone in
the 62nd Precinct Detective Squad, where he worked, could have pulled the folder from its unlocked file cabinet. He suggested
that the case was an attempt by his enemies to set him up and said the file contained mostly old news clippings and criminal
rap sheets. In fact, Mr. Mo, interviewed in the book, said that it "looked like someone had set him up." He added that "if
the department wanted to frame him, they certainly could have done a better job."
He wrote that after the documents were found, F.B.I. agents followed him and uncovered nothing damaging. He
also said Internal Affairs investigators with the Police Department had interviewed his co-workers and friends for six months
and subpoenaed his phone records and, again, found nothing.
Mr. Eppolito's lawyer in the current case, Bruce Cutler, noted that police administrative trials are widely
viewed as "one-sided" in favor of the prosecution. "It's a tough place to win," he said. "The burden of proof is different,
there is no jury, you're being tried by a deputy commissioner." But Mr. Eppolito, he said, had prevailed nonetheless.
The case was one about which feelings ran deep. In fact, Mr. Mo said, the chief of detectives who upbraided
him about his decision 20 years ago brought it up again recently. The two men met at the wake for Benjamin Ward, the former
police commissioner who had endorsed Mr. Mo's decision and who died in 2002. It was raining, Mr. Mo remembered, and he caught
a ride afterward with the retired chief, Richard J. Nicastro, sitting beside him in the front seat.
"And Nicastro, out of nowhere, said, 'I have not forgotten what you did. You found that guy not guilty on
some technicality - that was not right,' " Mr. Mo recalled. Mr. Nicastro, he said, added, "You make your decision, and I make
my decision, and I think Eppolito is dirty."
Mr. Nicastro confirmed the exchange, saying, "I thought he let him off the hook."
Report Questions Handling of Miami Police Complaints
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
MIAMI, March 17 (AP) Fourteen Miami police officers facing federal corruption charges were investigated and cleared of
at least 293 accusations of misconduct by their own department, a newspaper investigation has found.
The Miami Police Department's internal investigations cleared the officers of accusations that included witness reports
or physical evidence of pistol whippings, broken noses, and in one case, rape, The Miami Herald reported today.
Critics say the department ignored the accusations to protect officers who have been with the force for the past 20 years.
"A small clique of police officers came into the department in the early 1980's, a small criminal element sneaked through,
and some of them have risen high enough so they can protect each other," said H. T. Smith, a lawyer who has sued the department
in other cases.
Chief Raśl Martinez defended his department and said that while it might have done a "lousy job disciplining these cases,"
there was no evidence of protection.
Lawyers for the officers say the accusations, made by suspects, are false.
"They are aggressive," said Richard Sharpstein, who represents officers Arturo Beguiristain and Jorge Castello. "That doesn't
upset the citizenry, but it upsets the criminals, and they make bogus allegations."
In September 2001, the 14 officers were charged after an inquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigation into misdeeds that,
the authorities said, included guns being planted at crime scenes and lies to cover up wrongful police actions in four questionable
At least three people died in the shootings, in the 1990's. In one, a SWAT team fired 123 bullets into an apartment, then
lied about finding a gun in a dead man's hand, the F.B.I. said. In another, two unarmed robbers were shot in the back while
fleeing, and a homeless man was shot in the leg.
Two officers have pleaded guilty in the charges and will testify against their colleagues.
Ex - Indiana Trooper Convicted of Killing Family
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
(No Author) in March 18, 2002 N.Y. Times
NEW ALBANY, Ind. (AP) -- A former state trooper was convicted of murder for killing his wife and two children in what
prosecutors said was an attempt to collect on a life insurance policy and pursue relationships with other
David Camm, 37, was found guilty on Sunday night by a jury that had been
deliberating through the weekend. He faces up to 65 years on each murder
Camm will be sentenced in about a month, said Floyd Superior Court Judge
Prosecutors said Camm murdered his wife, Kimberly, 35, and their children,
Brad, 7, and Jill, 5, in September of 2000 so he could be with other women
and collect about $600,000 from insurance.
Camm, who testified for three days, said he found the bodies after returning
home from playing in a basketball game at his church.
After the verdict was announced, Camm's sister, Julie Hogue, shouted, ``No,
no, no! It's wrong! You know it's wrong.''
Prosecutor Stan Faith said of the verdict: ``This was justice -- justice for
Much of the testimony focused on specks of Jill Camm's blood found on the
T-shirt Camm was wearing the night of the killings.
The prosecution argued the stains came from splattered blood that occurs
when someone is shot. The defense maintained Camm got the blood on his shirt when he leaned inside the family's Ford
Bronco and pulled his son out to
perform CPR on him.
The trial, moved from Johnson County to New Albany because of heavy pretrial publicity, lasted more than two months.
By FOX BUTTERFIELD
OSTON, Dec. 5 A former United States attorney in Boston told a Congressional committee today that he knew that some gangland
informers were committing murders and that their F.B.I. handlers had become personally involved with them. But he said he
took no action because he was intimidated by the bureau.
Probe Eyes Faulty FBI Arrest of Lawyer
Associated Press/AP Online
WASHINGTON - The Justice Department's watchdog office has opened an investigation into the
arrest of an Oregon lawyer that was based on what turned out to be faulty FBI analysis of a fingerprint linked to the deadly
terrorist attack in Spain last March.
Glenn A. Fine, the department's inspector general, said the antiterrorism Patriot Act may have been improperly
used in the arrest of attorney Brandon Mayfield.
Mayfield, a Muslim convert, was arrested May 6 on a material witness warrant after an FBI analysis concluded
he was a match for a fingerprint found on a bag containing detonators like those used in the attacks on trains in Madrid that
killed nearly 200 people and wounded 2,000.
A few weeks later, Mayfield was released after the FBI admitted it had made a mistake and that the fingerprint
did not match Mayfield's.
The inspector general's investigation was disclosed in a twice-a-year report to Congress on potential civil
rights and civil liberties abuses by Justice Department officials. A copy of the report was obtained by The Associated Press
on Monday, a day ahead of its scheduled public release.
The Mayfield investigation is focusing on how the fingerprint error was made and also on a complaint by Mayfield
that the "FBI inappropriately conducted a surreptitious search of his home ... potentially motivated by his Muslim faith and
ties to the Muslim community," according to Fine's report.
The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility also is investigating the actions of prosecutors
in the Mayfield case.
The Patriot Act, passed a few weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, includes a provision authorizing
the inspector general to review any complaints about civil liberties and civil rights abuses involving Justice Department
personnel. The latest report covers the period between Dec. 16, 2003, and June 21, 2004.
During that time, the inspector general received 1,613 such complaints, the vast majority of which did not
Nearly 1,000 of the complaints did not involve a Justice Department employee or included farfetched claims,
such as that the government was interfering with a person's thoughts or pumping poisonous gas into someone's home. Another
410 complaints were outside the inspector general's jurisdiction, including claims of improper prison medical care and inadequate
Of the remaining 208 complaints, only 13 were determined to warrant further review, including the Mayfield
Another case that prompted an investigation involves allegations by four people of Arab descent who say they
were improperly detained by the FBI while trying to enter the United States. They were allegedly handcuffed, taken to an FBI
office for questioning and "subjected to unnecessary humiliation," the report said.
Pa. Police Chief Arrested on Drug Charges
Associated Press/AP Online
October 7, 2004
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A small-town police chief who prosecutors said repeatedly smoked seized marijuana
while on duty was arrested on drug possession and other charges Wednesday.
Police Chief Brian S. Cara, of Weatherly, in northeastern Pennsylvania, was released on personal-recognizance bail after
his arraignment on charges of possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, obstruction of justice and attempted obstruction.
The state attorney general's office said a grand jury heard evidence that cocaine and marijuana had disappeared from the
Carbon County police department's evidence locker since 2002.
Cara, 38, did not immediately return a phone message left at his home. It was unclear whether he was represented by a lawyer.
Cara has been suspended with pay since investigators searched his office in August.
Prosecutors said sealed evidence envelopes containing cocaine were discovered opened and emptied, and that at least twice
Cara told other officers that missing drugs may have exploded while inside the evidence locker.
Using a hidden video camera, state drug agents on Aug. 2 allegedly observed Cara smoking pot on duty nine times, then numerous
other times over the next two days. Prosecutors said Cara was seen filling a pipe with marijuana and then putting it in his
breast pocket before going on patrol.
Police officers also recounted drug cases that were not investigated, evidence containers that had been tampered with,
and drugs and paraphernalia that turned up in a desk drawer Cara used, the attorney general's office said.
Rendell: What problem with radar?Gov. denies cover-up by State Police
NICOLE WEISENSEE EGANweisenn@phillynews.comGOV. RENDELL yesterday denied that Pennsylvania State Police covered up problems with their radar
guns, rather than fix them.
"The bottom line is that the guns are completely accurate when used by
trained personnel and aimed at a moving vehicle," said Kate Philips, Rendell's spokeswoman.
Jack Lewis, a state police
spokesman, also continued to deny the coverup allegations, despite extensive internal state police documentation that lays
out the details of the coverup.
The Daily News, citing hundreds of newly released internal state police documents,
reported yesterday that the state police rejected an offer from Decatur Electronics, the gun's manufacturer, to fix the guns
for free to keep the problem secret.
The state police feared the public would challenge speeding tickets, resulting
in a loss of revenue, if word got out that the guns needed fixing, the documents show. Samuel Walker, an expert in police
corruption, said "Radargate" appears similar to the state police's sexual misconduct scandal.
"Whenever they have evidence
of problems, their response is to cover it up," Walker said. "I think refusing to accept the manufacturer's offer to fix them
for free is just reprehensible."
Since September 2003, Kroll Associates, an international security firm, has been monitoring
how the state police handle sexual misconduct in its ranks. Kroll's final report is due this month. Its contract expires at
the end of the year.
Philips said Rendell won't decide whether to renew Kroll's contract or expand its mission until
he reads the final report.
Walker said Rendell needs to take two steps: temporarily extend Kroll's contract and expand
its mission to include other issues, like the radar gun coverup; and establish a permanent, independent watchdog for the state
"The key to improving policing is organizational change, not just investigating and punishing individuals,
which is relatively ineffective," said Walker, whose latest book, "The New World of Police Accountability," comes out next
The state inspector general put together a report on the radar gun coverup, gave it to Rendell in April but
no one will release it to the public.
The state police did release a favorable report, from the University of Pittsburgh,
on the radar gun last month and are still using it to support their claims that the gun works fine.
However, the report
contradicts findings by the state police; Decatur Electronics; four state-certified labs and Motorola, which issued a report
for the state police.
All concluded that the Genesis hand-held radar gun, powered by being plugged into the cigarette
lighter of a car, often gives phantom readings in 2003 or 2004 Ford Crown Victorias. The electrical noise from the car's alternator
causes the gun to give the false readings.
Rendell and the state police also continue to insist the radar gun works
fine when aimed at a moving vehicle. Reports from troopers using the gun, however, dispute those claims.
On Aug. 2,
2003, Cpl. William LaTorre wrote that he pointed the gun at the road, the sky, trees and, finally, a moving car. The gun said
all were going 78 mph. He used the gun properly, he said in an e-mail.
"The problem is that if a member doesn't catch
the constant reading, he'll think a vehicle...is actually travelling that speed," wrote LaTorre, who was in the Avondale,
Chester County barracks at the time. His e-mail went all the way to the head of the Bureau of Patrol.
Last March, Sgt.
Thomas Decker of the Philipsburg Barracks, in Centre County, notified his superiors about a similar problem one of his troopers
Decker said the trooper told him the gun showed a car going in the 50s then, seconds later, showed the same car
going speeds in the 80s.
"He stated that visually the speed of the car did not appear to change," Decker wrote.
troopers' e-mails were among hundreds of documents subpoenaed by Harrisburg attorney Don Bailey. He represents the state police's
radar expert, Tim Shingara, who was stripped of his radar duties last year after testifying in a speeding case about the wacky
radar gun readings.
Fired police officer awarded $1.6 million
Inglewood cop had punched teen in videotaped incident
01/19/05 01:21 AM, EST
A former Inglewood police officer who
was fired for punching a black teenager and slamming him against a patrol car was awarded $1.6 million Tuesday by the jury
in a discrimination lawsuit he and his partner brought against the city.FULL STORY
Tuesday, November 29, 2005 · Last updated 1:21 p.m. PT
FBI agent pleads guilty, agrees to resign
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- An FBI agent accused of lying about two trips to Las Vegas that were paid for by an informant pleaded
guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor and agreed to resign from the bureau.
Erik Blowers, once the chief legal counsel and ethics adviser for the FBI office in Charlotte, pleaded guilty to making
a false report.
Blowers, 40, originally faced a felony charge of making a false statement for failing to report thousands of dollars in
gifts and travel expenses paid for by homebuilder David Simonini.
The FBI agent took two trips to Las Vegas in 2000 with Simonini, a former informant who was under FBI investigation. At
the time of one of the trips, Blowers was head of the FBI squad investigating Simonini.
Simonini has since pleaded guilty to bank fraud and money laundering.
Blowers, who entered his plea in federal court in Greensboro, could get a year in prison and a $100,000 fine at sentencing
The Brooklyn district attorney's office is investigating whether a former F.B.I. agent may have helped a Mafia mole murder
a rival in a 1992 gangland killing.
Investigators are looking into whether the former agent, R. Lindley DeVecchio, may have helped a Colombo family gangster,
who was working secretly as his informer, kill a rival in the mob, according to a law enforcement official who has been briefed
on the case.
The investigation concerns the killing of Nicholas Grancio on the streets of southern Brooklyn on Jan. 7, 1992, after a
joint F.B.I.- New York Police Department surveillance team was called off of a mission to watch him.
The official said investigators were trying to determine whether Mr. DeVecchio, a former organized-crime investigator for
the F.B.I., was the one who withdrew the surveillance team and, if so, whether that withdrawal was timed to allow his Mafia
informant, Gregory Scarpa Sr., to sweep down on Mr. Grancio with a well-armed hit squad and assassinate him.
When Mr. Grancio was killed - in his car, by a shotgun blast to the head - it was at the height of the Colombo family wars,
an internecine squabble in which two factions of the family murderously fought each other for control. According to court
documents, Mr. Scarpa was seeking revenge that day against Mr. Grancio: He was under the impression that Mr. Grancio had had
a role in an attempt on his own life, the documents show.
But the investigation by Brooklyn prosecutors is the first real indication that law enforcement officials are at least
concerned that Mr. DeVecchio may have had a role in Mr. Grancio's murder. In the mid-1990's, Mr. DeVecchio was investigated
for more than two years in an internal F.B.I. inquiry concerning allegations that he had had an improper relationship with
Mr. Scarpa. Mr. DeVecchio was exonerated by the F.B.I. in 1996, and he retired shortly after the investigation ended.
Yesterday, his lawyer, Douglas Grover, said the current inquiry was baseless and "laughable."
"He was innocent then," Mr. Grover said, "and he's innocent now."
The law enforcement official said prosecutors from the district attorney's office have already gone to Washington to brief
the F.B.I. on their investigation, which adds yet another chapter to a tale long told among mob connoisseurs.
Indeed, the tangled bond between Mr. DeVecchio, one of the agency's top mob investigators, and Mr. Scarpa, one of the Mafia's
most brutal and ingenious killers, is one of the stranger relationships in Mafia lore.
The two started working together in the early 1980's, court documents show, when Mr. DeVecchio found Mr. Scarpa's name
in a file of dormant Mafia informers and reactivated him. The two were close, with Mr. Scarpa giving his handler wine and
freshly baked lasagna, the documents show. They spoke often, and Mr. DeVecchio often used the code name "the girlfriend" when
calling his source, the documents show.
The relationship was close enough that some of Mr. DeVecchio's fellow agents complained to their superiors, which led to
the internal F.B.I. investigation. That inquiry, however, never included allegations that Mr. DeVecchio might have played
a role in the Grancio assassination.
Mr. Scarpa died of AIDS in 1994.
Charged with information leak on murder witness
Originally published January 12, 2007
CHICAGO // A deputy U.S. marshal was taken into custody yesterday for allegedly
leaking "highly sensitive, confidential information" to organized crime figures about a key witness in the FBI's investigation
of more than a dozen unsolved Chicago mob killings.