Darren Johnson and William Jennings — the Indiana cops recently suspended for tasering and slapping an unruly 10-year-old — would have made our Top 5 Police Blunders Of The Week had their stupidity not landed them their very own entry. Also, today we have bigger fish to fry, like Anthony Orban and Jeff Jelenek, two California cops recently arrested for kidnapping and rape…
5. Lashaud Welcome and Ruffus Stewart
No one has any idea why Detroit police officers Lashaud Welcome and Ruffus Stewart did what they did, but everyone agrees that it was wrong.
In February 2009, Welcome and Stewart pulled over three men in front of a Detroit gas station. They found an ounce of weed on Sherrod Redd as well as a gun hiding under the hood of the car. Redd was cuffed, along with his two friends, but he was soon turned loose. Had the police ran a record check, they would have seen that Redd was wanted for violating his parole after he attacked a police officer. But they didn’t.
Instead, Welcome and Stewart pinned the marijuana and the gun on Redd’s nephew, Megale Redd, who had done little but earn a seat belt violation. While we’d like to accuse Welcome and Stewart of simple laziness, we can’t, seeing as busting Sherrod — the real criminal — would have been just as easy.
When Megale’s mother got wind of what the police officers did, she wasn’t pleased. Along with her son’s defense attorney, she obtained a copy of the gas station’s security video, which contradicted the report that the police filed against Megale.
After an internal investigation was conducted, both officers were suspended without pay and charged with official misconduct. Stewart has already pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.
Last Tuesday, Welcome appeared before a Wayne County judge who could only say, “Why? I don’t know.”
4. Shane Sampson
Shane Sampson may have only landed himself the number four spot on this week’s list, but, believe us when we say that, if there was a number one spot for biggest pussy cop, he’d most certainly be in the running.
Sampson happens to work for the Camden Police Department, a department so full of corrupt and inept cops that it has graced this list more than once. While Sampson hasn’t planted drugs on innocent suspects or sexually assaulted any women, he has still managed to prove himself a douchebag of the highest order.
Apparently, Sampson has been engaged in a protracted custody battle with his ex-wife. But rather than take this unfortunate situation like a man, Sampson had to get his buddies to do his dirty work for him — and waste valuable police resources in the process.
In December, Sampson filed a custody complaint against his ex-wife, who had received permission from the court to take their toddler daughter to Florida for vacation until December 24. While she was there, Sampson’s wife hurt her arm and was ordered by a doctor not to travel home before December 28.
But it was too late. Sampson had already thrown a hissy fit — one so big that state troopers were at the airport to greet his ex-wife, whom they then took into custody, detained her for four hours, and then handed her over to Camden cops, who then kept her for another four hours.
Of course, the charges against her were ultimately dismissed. First off, she had committed no crime. Secondly, Camden police — Sampson’s buddies — had no jurisdiction over her or her case. Also, Sampson had hastily filed his complaint a day before she was even originally due home.
Now, it’s Sampson who finds himself in trouble with the law. On Wednesday morning, he turned himself in and was charged with official misconduct and harassment, and has been ordered to stay away from his ex-wife.
3. John Lewis
The last time we caught up with John Lewis was in January, when he appeared on this here list at number 5. Unfortunately, while he’s moved up on Police Blunders, we can’t say the same for his standing in the real world.
Lewis is no stranger to the law — not just because he is a 15-year veteran Schenectady cop, but also because he’s been arrested on a half dozen domestic violence and drunk-driving charges. In December 2009, he added another 10 more charges to his name, thanks to stalking his wife and fighting with his ex-girlfriend.
Then, in January, he was busted yet again for drunk driving. Finally, the judge set his bail at $25,000, hoping that keeping him in jail for a while just might do the trick.
But that wasn’t the case.
This month, Lewis faces another slew of charges for breaking a window inside the Schenectady County Jail. He has been charged with reckless endangerment of property and has since been moved to the Schoharie County Jail.
Oddly enough, Lewis has still not been officially fired by the Schenectady Police Department. He’s been on unpaid suspension since 2008.
2. Melissa and Darin Smith
In the case of the 11-year-old son of Melissa and Darin Smith there is no good cop/bad cop sort of situation. The poor kid has simply been stuck with two really bad cops. Literally.
Someone might want to inform the Smiths that disciplining their son is not supposed to be akin to arresting a violent suspect.
Unfortunately, court affidavits are claiming that the couple — both officers with the Allen Police Department in Texas — did just that.
In February, the boys mother hit him in the head with a spoon, slapped him across the face, and then beat him with a belt after the boy says he didn’t get out of bed fast enough. Her punishment left several deep bruises on the boys body, including a gash on his scalp.
And that’s not all. The boy’s stepfather, Darin Smith, with the help of his mother, threw him to the ground, strangled him, cuffed him, and then threw him in the car, acting as though he had been arrested and was going to jail.
The Smiths have not denied using unusual disciplinary methods. They just don’t consider them abuse. Darin says he was just trying to scare the kid, while Melissa claims that it would only be abuse if she “used a baseball bat” and “broke his bones.”
Melissa has been charged with child abuse, while Darin has been charged with official oppression.
1. Anthony Orban and Jeff Jelenek
This last item just completely blows our minds and has honestly left us in such shock, we alas have no witty quips or snide remarks — just utter disgust.
On Saturday afternoon, in broad daylight, Anthony Orban, a 30-year-old officer with the Westminster Police Department, and Jeff Jelenek, a 30-year-old California corrections officer, where driving around Ontario, California when they spotted a 24-year-old waitress just getting off of work.
As the woman walked to her car, Orban approached her with his gun and ordered her to start driving as Jelenek followed them to a nearby town where Orban told her to stop the car and then raped her while Jelenek stood watch.
After Orban had his way with the victim, the two men sped off in Jelenek’s car before Orban realized he made a fatal error — he’d left his gun in the girl’s car. Orban quickly called his wife and told her his gun was missing and he thought it might be stolen.
Meanwhile, the victim had made her way to a nearby business, where she called Fontina police and handed over Orban’s weapon. By late that evening, both men were arrested and taken in for questioning. Fortunately, their stories were as sloppy as their handling of evidence.
Orban was booked on suspicion of rape, while Jelenek was held for being an accessory. Orban has also since been relieved of his duty while police continue to investigate.
Read last Thursday’s Top 5 Police Blunders Of The Week: Richard Anastasi Kidnapped, Tortured Man He Claims Stole His Identity.