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Texas Police Brutality and Police Abuse

Page 10

   12/20/2005 - A Cameron Police Officer resigned Monday after being arrested for assault over the weekend. Terry Drummond, 31, turned himself in to authorities Monday and was released later that day on a $1,500 bond.
Chief Leonard Doskocil said Lieutenant Drummond resigned from the force after a six-year career.

"He was a good officer," Doskocil said. "He's done a good job for us."
Drummond was suspended with pay from the force on Oct. 24 because Doskocil was worried about his welfare.

Saturday night about 8:40 p.m., Doskocil said, Drummond fought with Daniel Trevino, 31, outside Bob's Steakhouse in Cameron. Police responded and Trevino was taken to the Scott and White Emergency Room in Temple where he was treated for wounds on and around his head then released.

Doskocil said a police investigation led to a warrant being issued Sunday and Drummond's surrender Monday morning.

If found guilty, Drummond could face a fine not to exceed $4,000 and a jail term not to exceed one year or both.

According to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, he could also face a 10-year suspension of his license or, if his sentence is deferred, suspension for the time equal to his community supervision.

   ===========

   12/20/2005 - Two El Paso police officers facing aggravated perjury charges were arrested Tuesday, jail records indicate.

 Officer Dean Kinder, a past vice president of the police union, and his wife, Diane, a police detective, were arrested in connection with a court of inquiry, or court-led criminal proceedings, which wrapped up in September. Each was jailed in lieu of $5,000 bond.

 A state district judge, who presided over the court of inquiry, had said arrest warrants would be issued for the Kinders after he found there was probable cause indicating they conspired to hide the truth about a Sept. 15, 2002, street fight.

 The court of inquiry was requested by Cecilio "Tony" Soto, the husband of another police officer, who claims Dean Kinder assaulted him after Soto and his wife, Ana Soto, followed Kinder's wife home from a party. The charge against the Kinders is a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

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  12/19/2005 - FORT WORTH - Four men working with the reality television show Cheaters have been indicted on criminal charges related to a filmed confrontation between a woman and her estranged husband over her relationship with a Fort Worth police captain.

 On Thursday, a Tarrant County grand jury indicted Cheaters host Joey Greco, 45, and Hunter Carson, 29, the episode's director, on charges of assault with bodily injury, unlawful restraint and hindering apprehension.

 Walter Earl Woods, 36, and Thomas Daniel Gibbons, 19, security guards contracted by the television show, were indicted on charges of assault with bodily injury and unlawful restraint.

 All the charges are Class A misdemeanors, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Bobby Goldstein, creator and executive producer of Dallas-based Cheaters, called the charges "just nuts."

The four men indicted did not return messages left through Goldstein.

 With the TV crew of about a dozen nearby, Rafael Gutierrez confronted Maria Gutierrez in May after a private investigator had filmed her and Capt. Duane Paul in an unmarked city vehicle at a park on three occasions.

 The indictments allege that all four men were a party to an assault on Maria Gutierrez when one of the security guards hit her in the leg with his own leg as he tried to restrain her.

The indictments also charge that Greco and Carson hindered apprehension by providing Rafael Gutierrez with a means of leaving the scene before officers arrived.

=============== 

12/02/2005 - A former Harris County Precinct 7 deputy constable shouted and fought with bailiffs when he was sentenced to a year in jail Thursday after a former girlfriend testified that he had sexually assaulted her. 

 Officer Jonathan Gabriel Cooper, 24, screamed that he did not commit the crime and continued struggling violently as three bailiffs tried to restrain him and then carried him from state District Judge Mike Anderson's courtroom, attorneys said.

Cooper's former girlfriend, who was still on the witness stand when the outburst occurred, covered her face with her hands and cried, courtroom observers said.

Cooper was on probation after being granted deferred adjudication last summer on a reduced charge of deadly conduct. In that case, the same former girlfriend claimed Cooper had pointed a gun at her while off duty. But when a new charge of sexual assault was filed against Cooper in October, that placed his probation in jeopardy. Both incidents were alleged to have occurred in Baytown.

As the former girlfriend relayed details of the alleged sexual assault during testimony Thursday, Cooper unexpectedly fell to the ground and began breathing frantically, said his attorney, Roy Abner. Deputies escorted Cooper to a holding cell and summoned paramedics to check his health. They determined he was fine, and the hearing continued.

When testimony ended, the judge found Cooper guilty of deadly conduct and gave him the maximum sentence, one year in jail. When Anderson asked if he had anything to say, Cooper shouted that he was not guilty and said he didn't know why he was being treated in such a manner, Abner said.

"That escalated to him acting kind of wild. The deputies went to restrain him, and he fought them," Abner said. "He just started yelling. He was disgusted with the whole process."

Cooper put his hands out, trying to prevent deputies from removing him from the courtroom, said prosecutor Catherine Evans. Even after he was moved to the holding cell, people in the courtroom could still hear him shouting, staff said. No injuries were reported.

Cooper remains in custody. His trial on the sexual assault charge has not been scheduled.

==========

   11/30/2005 -  Police believe they've discovered a suspected serial rapist responsible for half a dozen attacks in our area. The suspect attacked his victims after breaking into their homes and -- perhaps most disturbing -- he used to be a peace officer himself.

Jerry Lewis Ford surrendered himself at about 1:30am Friday. Detectives say that only happened after they got him on his cell phone and his wife, his lawyer and his pastor helped convince him to turn himself in.

Ford, 40, faced a judge for the first time on Friday on three new charges of sexual assault and three new charges of burglary. Police call Ford a serial rapist.

"They're just motivated by rage sometimes," said HPD Officer David Cole. "Sometimes they're motivated by hatred of women. They just won't stop."

Police say Ford attacked a total of six women in northwest Houston. The victims were women who lived alone or just with children.

Ford was initially arrested in 2002, accused of sexually assaulting a prostitute after allegedly impersonating a police officer. He was at one time a reserve deputy constable for precinct 2 in Fort Bend County. Ford resigned his position after he was charged.

As a result of his arrest then, police later matched his DNA to three unsolved rapes. Ford was arrested, then released on bond. Only this week he was charged in three new rapes after testing last month revealed his involvement in those cases.

Authorities say they have no evidence leading them to believe that Ford might have hurt anyone else while out on bond, but they do want to hear from anyone who believes he might have victimized them.

Prosecutor Joe Owmby said, "We know they never stop. So a person that would commit these crimes is as dangerous as a person can be."

The judge hiked Ford's bond considerably. He is now being held on $600,000 bond. He is in custody in the Harris County jail.

==========

   11/30/2005 -  - HALTOM CITY - A police sergeant was fired and two detectives disciplined for taking soft drinks out of a refrigerator while executing a search warrant in a house, authorities said.

Two other detectives who witnessed the theft received written reprimands for failing to report it, police said. "These police officers are human, but we don't have the luxury of making these type of mistakes," Haltom City Police Chief Ken Burton said. Sgt. Dennis Ochs was fired in November. Detectives Josh Boyd and Roger Dale were suspended for 15 days and 10 days respectively, police said. Ochs and Boyd have filed appeals with the city's Civil Service Commission, according to city records.The case has been turned over to Fort Worth police for consideration of criminal charges, detective Terry Stayer said. The soft drink theft occurred in early September, several days after Haltom City police arrested a man near his Fort Worth home. Haltom City police returned to the house a few days later to serve a search warrant in hopes of gathering more evidence in the child sexual assault case.

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  11/23/2005 -   A 25-year veteran of the Dallas County Sheriff's Department has asked the FBI to review information that he says shows that the department's DWI task force has been engaged in illegal racial profiling by targeting Hispanic drivers.

 Deputy Mike Ramirez, a vice president of the Latino Peace Officers Association's Dallas chapter, said Tuesday that after reviewing arrest records obtained through a freedom-of-information request and observing the task force's work, he has asked Sheriff Lupe Valdez to suspend the unit's operations until better policies can be put in place to guard against targeting Hispanics.

He said the sheriff has not been responsive, which prompted him to go to the FBI.

In a statement issued through the department's press secretary, Sheriff Valdez said that she has assigned two deputy chiefs to investigate the allegations and that when the investigation is completed, she will take appropriate action if the allegations are true.

In the meantime, she does not intend to suspend the program.

"Drunk-driving crashes are the most committed yet preventable violent crimes in the United States," Sheriff Valdez said. "We must do everything we can to protect everyone, including those who choose to drink and drive."

The problem is limited to a few officers, said Deputy Ramirez, who was joined by local Hispanic leaders at a news conference Tuesday.

 He said that, according to records he obtained, one deputy – whom he would not name – made 597 traffic stops from October 2004 to last month. Of those stopped, 440 were Hispanic, he said. The officer arrested 72 of them and gave citations to 192.

According to Deputy Ramirez, the deputy stopped white drivers 95 times and black drivers 62 times, making no arrests and issuing no citations. (In a handful of cases, he could not determine the ethnicity of the driver).

 He said the DWI task force, which is funded through a state grant, frequently operates at Manana Road and the frontage road of Interstate 35E, near two nightclubs frequented by Hispanics and Mexicans. He asserted that the task force largely ignores nightclubs frequented by Anglos, which are just across I-35.

"They're easy prey," he said of the Hispanic drivers. "The deputies know many don't have licenses, so they won't contest the charges."

He said that anyone driving drunk should be arrested, regardless of ethnicity, but that the law should be applied fairly.

According to statistics issued by the Sheriff's Department, from Nov. 29, 2003, to May 18, 2005, there were 200 convictions for driving while intoxicated. Of those convicted, 101 were Hispanic.

During all of 2004, the department made 350 DWI arrests, and 198 of those arrested were Hispanic.

============

   11/21/2005 - Austin Police Chief Stan Knee on Friday fired the officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Daniel Rocha during a traffic stop in Southeast Austin, declaring in a blunt 10-page memo that her action demonstrated questionable judgment and "was avoidable."

 Knee fired officer Julie Schroeder, who had been with the department for seven years, after a three-hour disciplinary hearing at police headquarters. She is the first officer to be fired for an on-duty shooting in a decade.  

 Knee also suspended Sgt. Don Doyle, an 18-year veteran who struggled with Rocha before he was shot, for 28 days without pay for failing to properly use his patrol car video camera.

 The officers, who were working an undercover drug operation during the June 9 incident, have said they became involved in a tussle with Rocha, who was unarmed, after stopping the Chevrolet Suburban in which he was riding shortly after it left a known drug house.

 Schroeder has said that Rocha resisted arrest and that she shot him once after she thought he took her Taser stun gun and was about to use it against her or Doyle, who arrived moments after Schroeder.

The Taser was later found on the pavement.

In his memo, Knee described the sequence of events and reasons that he fired Schroeder. Knee found that:

•Schroeder could have accidently shot Doyle, or the bullet could have passed through Rocha and hit Doyle. The two men's bodies were so intertwined during the struggle that any change in position could have put Doyle in the line of fire.

•Schroeder did not have a "reasonable belief" that Rocha posed a serious threat to her or Doyle and did not use the minimum level of force necessary to arrest him.

•Rocha was trying to escape the officers, not harm them.

•Schroeder had not properly secured her Taser and had an opportunity, and "an obligation," to see whether he had taken the weapon before shooting him.

Option to appeal

 Knee's decision closely tracked recommendations of a citizen advisory panel — part of the police monitor's office — that sent Knee a strongly worded memo denouncing Schroeder's actions.

"It was not appropriate or in accordance with APD policy for Officer Schroeder's fear and 'self preservation' instincts to overwhelm her training, experience and obligation to Daniel," the panel's document said. "Civilians . . . also have the right to go home alive. In fact, Schroeder is well-paid to make sure they get home alive."

 Knee said Doyle, who the panel had recommended be demoted, agreed with his suspension. Doyle did not have a videotape in his car video camera, which Knee said deprived the department and the community of what could have been insightful evidence.

He said that Schroeder has the option of appealing and that he will not discuss his decision beyond his comments in the memo until after she has exhausted the appeals process — an action Austin Police Association officials said she will begin Monday.

Knee wrote in the memo that the decision to fire Schroeder had not been easy.

 "But I believe that it is in the best interests of the department, the community and Officer Schroeder," he said. He added that each of Schroeder's supervisors agreed that she should no longer be on the force.

Rocha's mother, Daniela Rocha, said the firing has not brought justice for her son's death, an effort that she said she will continue to vigorously pursue.

"I'm happy and I'm relieved, but this is just a step," she said. "I want her to go to trial like everybody else would if they shot someone."

A Travis County grand jury in August declined to indict Schroeder.

The announcement brought an immediate protest from the union, which said it will push to have Knee removed as chief.

 Detective Mike Sheffield, president of the police union, lambasted Knee during a news conference in which he was surrounded by a dozen fellow officers and union representa- tives.

"This action today by Chief Knee proves what we have long suspected: That he no longer has the heart, guts or backbone to defend those in uniform," Sheffield said. "It is our duty from this day forward to work toward one goal: the removal of Stan Knee as chief of police."

Lethal force

 Rocha's death was the latest in a series of shootings in recent years involving Austin police officers and minority suspects.

 The shooting renewed debate about how Austin officers use force and again left Knee and City Manager Toby Futrell to respond to community anger and unrest. Many residents have called for more thorough investigations and harsher punishment against officers who use lethal force.

 Last year, Knee suspended officer Scott Glasgow for 90 days for a series of policy violations that he said contributed to the death of Jesse Lee Owens after a traffic stop in East Austin. Other officers involved in recent shootings were not disciplined.

Knee said in the memo that Schroeder had a chance before the shooting to yell at Rocha to stop resisting or she would use force against him. He also said that Doyle did not feel the need to shoot Rocha and was surprised when he realized that Schroeder had fired.

Knee said Schroeder never saw a weapon in Rocha's hands.

 "Had Officer Schroeder simply leaned over Rocha's shoulder, or taken advantage of the opportunity presented to her by placing herself in a position where she could have seen that Rocha had no weapon, this deadly force encounter could have and would have been avoided," he said.

Knee's decision Friday concludes a series of investigations into the shooting, which is still being looked into by the FBI.

'Panic and fear'

The citizens panel, created two years ago, reviewed the shooting last month and concluded that "Schroeder panicked."

 "And her panic and fear — described by Doyle and implicitly confessed by Schroeder at the re-enactment — only buttress the conclusion that the shooting was not prudent," panelists wrote in their memo to Knee. "Contrary to Schroeder's defensive theory, it was not reasonable for her to shoot Daniel because she could not find her Taser and could not see Daniel's hands.

"She had several non-lethal weapons readily available to her; she never attempted to use any of them."

 Sheffield also attacked the police monitor's office and its panel, saying that they amounted to a "kangaroo court." He said the panel lost credibility after information about its recommendation that Schroeder be fired was leaked and reported in Wednesday's Austin American-Statesman.

Sheffield said the disclosure "put political pressure on a weak chief."

Futrell, who helped create the oversight panel that includes citizens, defended the process.

 "For the first time in our community, seven average citizens can lift the veil, peek inside the tent and see something nobody has had a chance to see before," she said. "(They can) say, 'This was a good investigation, I'm comfortable with the facts and here's what I think.' "

Police Monitor Ashton Cumberbatch, joined by several panel members at City Hall, said the group's recommendation was based on the severity and number of policy violations.

"There were a lot of different facts that contributed to my opinion," panelist Juan Alcala said. "We reached our opinion based on what was presented to us."

Hearing convened

 Schroeder began the lengthy disciplinary hearing Friday morning and was fired about 2:30 p.m. Sheffield said she was called into a conference room after her supervisors deliberated and was handed a copy of the disciplinary memo. He said she was visibly shaken and upset.

Department officials instructed Schroeder to box her uniforms and other equipment and return them to headquarters next week, Sheffield said. She surrendered her badge when she was placed on restrictive duty immediately after the shooting.

Sheffield, who sent a text page to the department's officers immediately after the punishment was issued, declined to be specific about his plans to push for Knee's removal.

"It will be done in a public way," he said. "I will say that this union has no place left for the proper respect that should be due to the Austin chief of police."

But Futrell, Knee's boss, said she stands behind the chief.

"There is no more difficult decision a police chief makes than disciplining an officer," she said. "Truly exceptional organizations like the Austin Police Department realize that part of maintaining excellence is openness and willingness to be accountable."

 During her news conference, Daniela Rocha said she hopes that her son's death will soon promote change in the police department culture and have a lasting effect on the community.

 "We need to work on getting the police department better training and better attitudes towards racism," she said. "Maybe me and my son will be able to make some changes in this town. Maybe we can have a safer city where citizens can trust the police department." 

=========

  11/21/2005 - Jacksonville - The words “Get down! Get down!” still ring in former Jacksonville police officer Larry Lacey's ears as he recalls the night of his arrest on Oct. 2 on a street in northern Jacksonville - an arrest which he believes is the reason Jacksonville Police Department Officer Larry Pugh is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

 Lacey has given the Daily Progress exclusive rights to his version of what occurred during the encounter with Pugh.

 At approximately 10:30 p.m., Oct. 2, while driving in the vicinity of Patton and Monroe streets, Lacey was startled when he noticed a vehicle quickly approaching him from behind. When Lacey pulled to the side of the roadway to allow the vehicle to pass, it stopped beside him.

 “Officer Pugh came up behind me real quick, and then he pulled up beside me and rolled his window down,” Lacey said. “He asked me if I always stopped abruptly when a vehicle was behind me.”

Lacey told Pugh he had stopped in an attempt to let him pass because he did not know who it was, and the car was approaching his vehicle very quickly.

“He (Pugh) said ‘It's the police,' in a real sarcastic way,” Lacey said.

 Lacey acknowledged Pugh's official capacity, and Pugh continued down the street in front of Lacey's vehicle. But after a while he pulled over to the side and let Lacey pass him.

“As soon as I passed him, he was on my bumper again, so I stopped and got out of my car to ask if there was a problem,” Lacey said.

 According to the police report filed by Pugh, Pugh believed the registration sticker on Lacey's 2003 Mazda to be expired. The report said Pugh was following Lacey while his license plate number was being processed.

During that time, according to the report, Pugh claimed Lacey committed a traffic violation.

 “Officer Pugh observed the vehicle approach the intersection of Monroe Street and Patton Street, where the vehicle then made a left turn using the turn signal, but failing to signal (for) the required distance,” the report states.

 While Pugh was following Lacey's vehicle, reportedly waiting on the information about the registration sticker, Lacey stopped on the side of the road and got out of his car.

 Pugh's report claims that Pugh was “concerned for his safety” when Lacey began walking toward his patrol car.

 The report also states that Pugh was “concerned for both Officer Pugh's and Lacey's safety, because Lacey refused to get out of the traffic lane.”

Lacey claims he was not in danger, because there was no traffic on the roadway at the time.

According to the report, it was at that time Pugh realized the microphone for the in-car video system was not on and he activated it.

 “Lacey asked Officer Pugh, ‘Why are you harassing me?' the report states. Officer Pugh told Lacey “I'm not harassing you, step over there or we're going to have problems.”

Lacey replied, “Well, we may have some problems,” the report states.

 Lacey said he did not understand why Pugh was following him so closely, and after Pugh asked him to step back into his vehicle, he asked to see Pugh's supervisor.

It was at that time Lacey claims he was sprayed with pepper spray.

 “I could tell he was irate, and he got out of his car and physically pushed me out of the road. After I said there was no reason for him to put his hands on me, he went back to his car and came back and started spraying me,” Lacey said.

Lacey was then repeatedly hit by Pugh with a police asp baton, according to Lacey and the police report.

“Why are you hitting me?” Lacey asked Pugh as the baton struck his legs.

He said he heard Pugh say “We got one that's resisting,” into his radio.

 According to Pugh's account, he physically guided Lacey out of the road, and Lacey pulled away from his grasp. Pugh said it was at this time when he sprayed Lacey's head and face with pepper spray.

 “Lacey turned away from Officer Pugh, and Officer Pugh ordered Lacey to get on the ground without compliance. Officer Pugh, using the shin of his right leg, then struck Lacey in the common perineal nerve area of his right thigh for pain compliance,” the report said.

 After Lacey failed to comply with Pugh's wishes, the asp baton was used twice before Lacey kneeled down on one knee. According to the report, Lacey was kicked in the shin two more times and hit with the baton and sprayed with pepper spray again before he complied with Pugh's orders to get completely down on the ground.

 Pugh's report said when Lacey placed his left hand behind his back that Lacey stiffened his left arm when Pugh attempted to place him in handcuffs. JPD Officers Jonathan Shobert and Raymond Bouman then arrived to assist Pugh with the arrest.

 “While attempting to get Lacey's hands behind his back, Lacey continued to resist officers by stiffening his arms and pulling them away from officers,” the report states.

 Lacey claims he at no time during his encounter with Pugh and the other officers resisted arrest.

“I know I did not resist arrest,” Lacey said.

Because of the pepper spray in his eyes, Lacey could not identify the other officers.

But he said he felt the batons hitting him, and he claimed to hear one of them say, “You don't resist here in Jacksonville.”

 According to Lacey, he never made a traffic violation or gave Pugh any reason to have such drastic actions taken against him.

However, the report states that Lacey was issued a citation for failure to signal required distance, expired motor vehicle registration sticker and failure to change address on driver's license.

 After a struggle with Pugh, Shobert and Bouman, Lacey was taken into custody and charged with resisting arrest. Lacey was kept overnight at the JPD and transported to the Cherokee County Jail on Oct. 3.

 Lacey said he did not receive any medical attention until he posted a $1,500 bond on Oct. 3. According to Lacey, he went to East Texas Medical Center in Tyler for his injuries, which included swollen legs.

 JPD Chief of Police Mark Johnson said he cannot comment about the reason of the FBI investigation involving Pugh, which began Oct. 21, after Pugh was suspended with pay from the police force.

“I can't comment, because it is not our investigation,” Johnson said. “Since it is ongoing, I doubt the FBI will comment either.”

 An official with the FBI field office in Tyler said he could not confirm or deny that there is an investigation involving Pugh. Calls to Special Agent John Brody, who Johnson suggested as a contact, were not returned.

A call to the home of Pugh was also not returned, and Johnson said Pugh was not allowed to comment on an open investigation.

 But Lacey called the JPD and the FBI after his arrest, and he has been in the process of filing an official complaint with the city. Therefore, Lacey believes the FBI may be investigating infringements on his civil rights, which helieves Pugh was responsible for during his arrest.

Minorities In Law Enforcement President Mark Green claims the incident is a case of police brutality with possible racial overtones. MILE was founded in 1994, and Green said its mission is to stop officers from being victimized by fellow officers.

“I believe that Lacey's civil rights were violated,” Green said. “Once I heard Lacey's story, I was not surprised, because it's not the first time officers have violated civil rights in this area.”

 Green, who is a former Rusk Police Department corporal, said he has known Lacey for 37 years, and has worked with him several times. Green said he did not believe Lacey would resist arrest, because he is a former officer who knows the laws.

“Why would an officer do what (Lacey claims) Pugh did when someone asks to see his supervisor?,” Green said.

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   11/19/2005 - Police believe they've discovered a suspected serial rapist responsible for half a dozen attacks in our area. The suspect attacked his victims after breaking into their homes and -- perhaps most disturbing -- he used to be a peace officer himself.

  Officer Jerry Lewis Ford surrendered himself at about 1:30am Friday. Detectives say that only happened after they got him on his cell phone and his wife, his lawyer and his pastor helped convince him to turn himself in.

 Ford, 40, faced a judge for the first time on Friday on three new charges of sexual assault and three new charges of burglary. Police call Ford a serial rapist.

 "They're just motivated by rage sometimes," said HPD Officer David Cole. "Sometimes they're motivated by hatred of women. They just won't stop."

 Police say Ford attacked a total of six women in northwest Houston. The victims were women who lived alone or just with children.

 Ford was initially arrested in 2002, accused of sexually assaulting a prostitute after allegedly impersonating a police officer. He was at one time a reserve deputy constable for precinct 2 in Fort Bend County. Ford resigned his position after he was charged.

 As a result of his arrest then, police later matched his DNA to three unsolved rapes. Ford was arrested, then released on bond. Only this week he was charged in three new rapes after testing last month revealed his involvement in those cases.

  Authorities say they have no evidence leading them to believe that Ford might have hurt anyone else while out on bond, but they do want to hear from anyone who believes he might have victimized them.

 Prosecutor Joe Owmby said, "We know they never stop. So a person that would commit these crimes is as dangerous as a person can be."

 The judge hiked Ford's bond considerably. He is now being held on $600,000 bond. He is in custody in the Harris County jail.

If convicted, Ford could face life in prison.

 ============

   11/16/2005  - LUBBUCK — A Texas Ranger has admitted giving incorrect testimony during the trial of two men convicted in the 1996 slaying of a convenience store clerk, but denied intentionally misleading anyone.

 During a hearing challenging the two men's convictions, lead investigator Sal Abreo conceded that descriptions of the suspects in his reports didn't match information given to another investigator by the victim as she lay dying.

 "I believe they were close enough or similar enough to be the same people," Abreo said.

 His testimony Monday came during an appeal seeking new trials for Jesus Ramirez and Alberto Sifuentes. The men were convicted in the armed robbery and slaying of Evangelina Cruz and sentenced to life in prison.

 Attorneys say Sifuentes and Ramirez were easy marks for authorities rushing to solve the August 1996 killing in Littlefield. Both were poor, legal immigrants who spoke little English.

 On Monday, Abreo denied duping a prosecutor who wrote a memo claiming he was mislead into filing the case by the investigator.

 Although a state crime lab tested tennis shoes discovered in Ramirez' home and found they didn't match a footprint at the crime scene, Abreo testified during trial that no shoes had been recovered. On Monday, he admitted that was incorrect and said he didn't tell prosecutors about it. Recently, appellate lawyers found a memo showing Abreo was the one who turned in the shoes about a week after the murder.

 Abreo's testimony had been delayed because of undisclosed medical reasons. He remains on medical leave from the Texas Rangers.

 The Mexican consulate enlisted the help of a Dallas law firm to get the convictions of Sifuentes and Ramirez thrown out, a step consular officials usually reserve for death penalty cases.

 Defense attorneys claim the men's trials were rife with false testimony and the result of a shoddy investigation. One witness conceded she was drunk after a daylong binge and another couldn't have been at the crime scene when she claimed, an investigation by appellate attorneys found.

Final arguments in the appeal were set for Dec. 21.

==========

   11/11/2005 - ROUND ROCK — Round Rock Police arrested a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper Thursday and charged her with misdemeanor theft after she took $58 worth of merchandise from a local Wal-Mart, according to police documents.

 Officer Jennifer Lopatowski, 30, a seven-year DPS veteran, was released from the Williamson County Jail after paying a $750 bond.  

 A Wal-Mart security officer called police to the store near Interstate 35 and Louis Henna Boulevard shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday after he saw Lopatowski put a jacket, an infant sleeper and four flash cards into a Wal-Mart bag and another bag she brought into the store, police documents said.

She did not pay for the items and told the security officer that she forgot to pay with her Wal-Mart gift card, the documents said.

Police decided to allow officer Lopatowski, who had her newborn child with her, to return home and make arrangements for the child's care before arresting her at her home Thursday morning. Lopatowski has been on maternity leave.

"We had an option, and we exercised it because it was the right thing to do," said Eric Poteet, spokesperson for the Round Rock Police Department. "It had nothing to do with her being a cop."

 Officer Lopatowski attended the DPS training academy in July 1998 and graduated as a probationary trooper in January 1999. She worked as a highway patrol trooper in Hempstead before transferring to Magnolia in May 2000, said Lisa Block, a DPS spokeswoman.

Lopatowski worked as a trooper at the Capitol from June 2002 until she transferred to the Region 6 office in East Austin in June 2003, Block said.

In September, Lopatowski transferred to the DPS private security bureau, an administrative office that oversees licensing for security personnel, Block said.

 Buddy Meyer, director of the trial division for the Travis County district attorney's office, said it is unclear whether Lopatowski's arrest would have any effect on the prosecution of cases she has worked on as a law enforcement officer.

"You would have to look at each case individually and see how she was involved," he said.

The Internal Affairs division of DPS is investigating the incident, Block said.

Lopatowski will remain on leave pending the results of the investigation, Block said.

The class B misdemeanor has a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $2,000 fine.

============

  11/11/2005 - SEALY - The Sealy police chief has stepped down after a former dispatcher accused him of sexual harassment and verbal abuse.

 Police Chief Brad Murray, 43, had already been suspended without pay while the city investigated the allegations. Murray submitted his resignation to the City Council late Wednesday, making it effective immediately.

In a six-page complaint, former dispatcher and administrative assistant Kimberley Acebo, 31, accused Murray of harassing her. She also alleged Murray called her into his office to see pornographic video e-mails.

"I reached a point where I couldn't take the verbal abuses and sexually explicit language anymore," said Acebo, of Katy.

Acebo resigned from her job on Sept. 26 and filed the complaint three days later.

In response, City Manager John Maresh wrote that the city had hired an independent firm to investigate the allegations and report the findings.

On Oct. 10, the city suspended Murray. Lt. Paul Faircloth has been named interim police chief.

Acebo said she was considering returning to work at the police department now that Murray has resigned.

>>> UPDATE: 11/19/2005 - BELLVILLE - The Sealy police chief who resigned after being accused of showing a female employee pornographic material on his work computer has been hired by her uncle, Austin County Sheriff DeWayne Burger.

Brad Murray, 43, started working this week as a part-time reserve officer in the Austin County Sheriff's Department.

Burger said the department hires reserve officers to expand the police force during busy times.

The 31-year-old Katy woman, who first aired her allegations against Murray in a six-page formal complaint to the city on Sept. 29, said she was disappointed in her uncle's decision. She said she recently heard the news through the grapevine.

"I'm shocked he (Burger) would take his side and hire him to represent his department after what he has done," Kimberley Acebo said. "But I can't tell him how to run his department."

In explaining his decision, Burger said: "I separate personal affairs from business. They (his sister Cheryl and niece) might be mad at me, but they understand how I feel."

Burger said he has known Murray for a long time and he hasn't seen anything to lead him to think he has done anything wrong.

"He is not involved in a criminal investigation as far as I know," Burger said. ''Under the law, he is innocent until proven guilty."

Acebo said she has not spoken with her uncle since she learned of Murray's employment but added that she and Burger, who also is her godfather, do not have an adversarial relationship.

In the complaint, Acebo called Murray cruel and rude and accused him of verbally attacking employees.

Acebo, who resigned from her position as a dispatcher on Sept. 26, said Murray had been downloading pornographic video e-mails from his home computer onto his city computer to watch while on duty.

She said he also made her feel uncomfortable by asking about her sex life.

Murray has not commented on the allegations, but city manager John Maresh said he has denied most of them.

Murray worked for the department for 15 years before stepping down on Nov. 9.

On Oct. 10, the city had suspended Murray without pay and hired an independent firm to investigate the allegations.

Maresh said a report with the results would not be made public until the city attorney authorizes the city to publicize the findings.

==========

11/09/2005 - Inside a crowded office building, a 21-year-old Katrina evacuee was Tasered by police, while standing in line trying to get financial aid. It happened at the Texas Department of Health and Human Services office in southwest Houston.

 Brandon Parker, 21, his fiancée and their two small children are evacuees from Hurricane Katrina. They moved to Houston from Dallas about three weeks ago, hoping to make a fresh start. But they say Tuesday's events are not what they had in mind.

 Parker was in line inside the Department for Human Services office waiting for assistance. According to his fiancée Natasha Smith, he went to get the necessary paperwork. One thing led to another and the next thing she knew, an off-duty Houston Police officer working an extra job at the office drew his stun gun and used it.

 Eyewitness Linda Jackson recalled, "(The officer) told (Parker), 'Man, get on the ground.' The dude was backing up to walk away to come out the door. 'Man, get on the ground.' So they shot him with that Taser gun, and he went to the ground."

In the pouring rain, police arrested Parker, issuing him three citations two for assault and one for disorderly conduct. Police won't say what prompted the officer to use his Taser, as the incident is now under investigation.

"If they don't tell the truth, somebody's gonna tell the truth," Smith said. "I already got witnesses. Somebody gonna tell the truth."

Parker was taken to the West Houston Medical Center for observation. Authorities then transported him to the city jail.

Cassandra Brooks, Parker's mother, says it should never have come to this.

"I think they could have prevented this," she said. "They had too many children in there, too many people sitting around in there for him to do what he did."

 Officer DE Henry is a 15 year veteran of the force. Brooks is claiming that officer made racial slurs toward her son in the moments leading up to the Tasering. The department tells Eyewitness News they cannot investigate those claims unless Parker's family files a complaint. 

=============

  11/09/2005 - At 4:30 one morning last year in a 7-Eleven parking lot in far Northwest Austin, Austin police officer Jason Lockaby arrested a 23-year-old woman on an outstanding warrant, according to a police affidavit.

 While he patted her down, Lockaby put his hands on the woman's breasts and pressed down. Then he made her pull her shirt and bra away from her body, exposing her breasts, the affidavit said. Finally, the affidavit said, Lockaby made inappropriate comments about her breasts and took her to jail.

Now, it's officer Lockaby who is heading to jail.

 On Tuesday, a judge sentenced the former Austin police officer to three months in a state jail for touching the breasts of two women and pressuring a third woman to show him her breasts to avoid legal trouble.

 Lockaby, 35, who is free on bail and will begin serving his sentence in January, did not say anything during the short sentencing hearing and declined to comment outside of state District Judge Jon Wisser's courtroom. His lawyer, Dan Dworin of Austin, also declined to comment.

 Assistant Travis County District Attorney Patty Robertson called Lockaby's crimes "particularly offensive."

"This is an example of how we take these cases (involving wrongdoing by police officers) seriously," she said.

 Last month, Lockaby pleaded guilty to improper sexual activity with a person in custody, a felony carrying a maximum punishment of two years in a state jail. He also pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors: attempted improper sexual activity with a person in custody and official oppression. His sentence was the result of a plea bargain with prosecutors.

In addition to the jail time, Lockaby was sentenced to five years' deferred adjudication, a form of probation, and a $1,000 fine. He also must forfeit his Texas peace officer's license.

 Lockaby, who lives in Georgetown, was fired from the police department shortly after his November 2004 arrest. He had worked there for two years.

Through a spokeswoman, Assistant Police Chief Robert Dahlstrom said, "The judicial system worked."

 The names of Lockaby's victims are being withheld because of the nature of his crimes. One of them has filed a civil rights lawsuit against him, which is pending in U.S. District Court in Austin.

 Five days after Lockaby arrested the woman at the 7-Eleven in March 2004, he followed her into her apartment complex, again at 4:30 a.m., and said he was "just checking on her," the affidavit said. In September 2004, the affidavit said, Lockaby pulled the woman over on FM 2222 for speeding and made a sexual comment to her as he wrote her a warning citation.

 Another woman told police that in October 2004, Lockaby responded to her Northwest Austin apartment after she had an argument with her boyfriend. Lockaby told the woman she had an outstanding warrant for her arrest.

"Well, you could just show me your boobs and . . . and I won't take you to jail," the affidavit quotes Lockaby as saying.

The woman showed her breasts and Lockaby left without arresting her, the affidavit said.

The circumstances surrounding Lockaby's encounter with the third woman are unclear from court documents.

>>>>>  What is Judge Jon Wisser related to this officer? Just 3 months in jail? Where the pervert cop will probably be in isolation away from the general jail population. What is wrong with you Judge Wisser? I wonder how many other people you have sentence in the past, because they were arrested carrying a gun and going around town and molesting women? Did you only give them 3 months as well? I doubt it. Judge Jon Wisser seems to be one of those judges, who doesn’t seem to have the balls to set an example to the rest of the bad cops out there.

>>>> ""Assistant Travis County District Attorney Patty Robertson called Lockaby's crimes "particularly offensive.  This is an example of how we take these cases (involving wrongdoing by police officers) seriously," she said.""

  No offence to this assistant D.A., but Ronnie Earl the D.A. In Travis County is too busy trying to put Tom DeLay behind bars.  You notice that Ronnie Earl didn't press for a stiffer sentence on the officer. No surprise really, since he has made sure that every case that has come before his office of an officer killing a citizen was a "No Bill," which means he thinks the officer is always right when it comes to a police officer killing a citizen.

 You have to remember that these D.A.'s and Judges owe alot to bad cops, when it comes to lying and putting away people in prison. These judges and D.A.'s want to be re-elected and paid big fat checks. Just like anyone who would be running a racket. You might say it's a favor the D.A.'s and Judges pay back to the bad cops. A slap on the wrist and they say bad, bad officer-wink wink. 

============= 

  11/09/2005 -  A man is in jail after jumping a Columbus police officer and stealing a patrol car early Friday morning.

 Sigifredo Gonzales, 26, of Houston is being held at the Colorado County Detention Facility after being charged with theft of a motor vehicle, assault on a peace officer and possession of a controlled substance.

Three $75,000 bonds, a $20,000 bond and $1,500 bond were all set on Gonzales.

Gonzales was driving a stolen white Ford pick-up truck around 2:30 a.m. Friday.

Columbus Police Chief Danny Jackson said that Gonzales had stolen the truck at knife-point in Harris County.

 When Gonzales arrived in Columbus, he attempted to get another vehicle to pull over, but the occupants called the Colorado County Sheriff's Department.

 Columbus police officer David Gerloff was dispatched to investigate.

Gonzales crashed into some empty wooden storage buildings beside Windshield Xpress at the intersection of Business 71 and U.S. 90, and Gerloff came upon the wreck.

At the same time, officer Jimmy Brannon responded to the scene.

Jackson said that Gonzales jumped up and ran to Gerloff's patrol car and got inside of it.

 As Gonzales attempted to flee the scene in the patrol car, Brannon and Gerloff opened fire on the car in an attempt to shoot-out the tires.

Jackson added that Gonzales was not armed.

The two officers pursued the stolen patrol car in Brannon's vehicle west on U.S. 90.

 Jackson said that the stolen patrol car now had three flat tires, two of which were off the rim.

The officers finally stopped Gonzales on U.S. 90 in Glidden near FM 2434.

Because the officers discharged their weapons, the Texas Rangers were immediately called to investigate the incident.

 “Everything is on hold right now until the Texas Rangers do their investigation,” Jackson said. “We'll have more information at that time.”

Harris County law enforcement officials are also involved in the investigation.


>>>>>   ""As Gonzales attempted to flee the scene in the patrol car, Brannon and Gerloff opened fire on the car in an attempt to shoot-out the tires.  Jackson added that Gonzales was not armed.""

 This folks is how they do it in Texas. The wild West!  Suspect unarmed, fleeing away from officers. Not trying to run the officers over, but fleeing.  No firearm discharge rules in Texas.  Shoot them in the back if you have to. Lets not worry about other citizens that might be in the path of them bullets. 

===========

  12/06/2003 -  A Texas housewife is in big trouble with the law for selling a vibrator to a pair of undercover cops, and the Brisbane vibrator company she works for says Texas is an "antiquated place'' with more than its share of "prudes.''

 Joanne Webb, a former fifth-grade teacher and mother of three, was in a county court in Cleburne, Texas, on Monday to answer obscenity charges for selling the vibrator to undercover narcotics officers posing as a dysfunctional married couple in search of a sex aid.

 Webb, a saleswoman for Passion Parties of Brisbane, faces a year in jail and a $4,000 fine if convicted.

"What I did was not obscene,'' Webb said. ""What's obscene is that the government is taking action about what we do in our bedrooms.''

 The arrest of Webb in Cleburne, a small town 50 miles southwest of Dallas, was the first time that any of the company's 3,000 sales consultants have been busted, said Pat Davis, the president of Passion Parties. She said the company was outraged by the charges and stood behind Webb.

 "It makes you wonder what they're thinking out there in Texas,'' Davis said. "They sound like prudes, with antiquated laws. They must have all their street crime under control in Texas if they're going to spend tax money arresting us.''

For the past year, Webb has sold the company's line of vibrators, gels, lubricants, strawberry-flavored nipple cream and "edible passion puddings.'' The merchandise is offered for sale in private, Tupperware-style parties to women who may be reluctant to visit an adult novelty store.

 Among the company's top items are a $12 jar of passion pudding in chocolate and strawberry flavors ("apply head to toe, wherever you want your lover to linger"), a $9 jar of nipple cream in strawberry, raspberry and watermelon flavors, and battery-powered vibrators that sell for $17 to $140. The company also offers such lubricants as Slippery Stuff ($13), Lickety Lube ($12) and Lucky Stiff ($11.50), and a $22 battery-powered item for men known as Jelly Julie ("with soft jelly silicone lips").

"Our products are not obscene,'' Davis said. "All we're trying to do is help people build loving relationships.''

Webb suspects she got in trouble because she ruffled feathers in town by daring to join the Chamber of Commerce with her sex toy business. She said her arrest had caused her husband of 20 years to suffer a nervous breakdown.

Webb said she was amazed that the town's narcotics squad would be put on the case.

"We have a real problem with drugs in our schools,'' she said, "and they're using our narcotics officers to entrap me for selling a vibrator.'' 
   

 




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