Kenneth Moreno “got caught up” in the moment, and raped a mostly passed out woman he and his partner had helped back to her apartment. But he swears he’s not a “bad man,” and “a good friend to have” (if you’re a masochist). Moreno puts the ape in rape as star of Police Blunders of the Week…
5. Cat Lafitte
In September 32-year old Dallas, Texas police officer Cat Lafitte made the paper for her participation in a community art project. Her segment featured the painting of a smiling, welcoming police officer, and a sort of manifesto of collected wisdom like: “Hug your mama cuz I guarantee you were a turd when you were 2” and “Use your freakin turn signal people!” (The 11th commandment.)
She told reporters it was a gesture of goodwill. “If I could plant one little seed in someone’s head that the police are
the good guys, I would consider myself to be successful.” That step forward was followed by two steps back when Lafitte demonstrated the kind of law enforcement attitude that concerns people in several publicly available Facebook posts.
She posted a picture of a small black child surrounded by cops and wrote the caption: “Quick . . . sprinkle some crack on him!” The single mother and off-duty roller derby gal (“Shake ‘n Bacon”? “Peach Fuzz”?) also described herself as an “Official Bum Roller” for her work with the homeless. She also bragged about an altercation with a hospital nurse: “I threw my boot at him, Jerry Springer-style, and nailed him in the face. It broke his glasses, cut his face and bruised it up real good.” (“Montel on line three.”)
The incident allegedly occurred when Lafitte was screaming at her supervisor on the phone and a paramedic told her to calm down and that security was on its way. The six-year veteran has been placed on paid administrative leave while the case is investigated.
4. Sticky Fingered KC SWAT Team
Television portrays always SWAT as involved in tense armed standoffs, but it may be the truth is much more mundane. A SWAT team in Kansas City, Kansas ran into trouble while executing a search warrant looking for a stolen X-Box and some other electronic equipment stolen from a home sometimes last year. (Guess it was a slow day, or KC is much more vigilant about crime than I ever knew.)
The cops eventually recovered the X-Box at someone else’s house, but the armed entry wasn’t a total waste of time. They did find $4000 in a coffee can, which they took for their troubles. At least according to a Kansas City woman who filed a complaint and spoke to the media. (She neglected to offer her name, but we have the feeling the responsible parties already know who she is.)
The woman believes her complaint may have inspired an FBI sting that resulted last week in the arrest of several SWAT officers for theft. The sting involved sending the team to a vacant KCK house where they’d planted money. A police spokesman said the sting sprang out of a citizen complaint, though he didn’t elaborate.
According to the woman, who spoke to a local television station, cops threw flash grenades through a window and burned the couch. (They saw some suspicious dust mites.) The woman came home to discover numerous cops in front of her house. When her 17-year old brother came home from work that night, he found the money missing.
Before you leap to the wrong conclusion — he’d only taken it out of the bank the day before to use in buying a car. They have the bank paperwork and all the receipts which they filed with their complaint. Everyone in the family has taken and passed lie detector tests. They still haven’t heard anything back about the money, though hopefully these recent arrests lends more credence to her case. SWAT shouldn’t be an acronym for Stealing Whatever’s Around Today.
3. Wesley Lamb
Fort Worth Police Officer Wesley Lamb got in trouble for being on the toke, which is still better than discovering him to be on the take. Someone spotted Lamb hot-boxing his squad with the icky-sticky while in uniform and reported it. (Way to harsh his mellow man!)
The complaint prompted the department to set up a sting that Lamb was too red-eyed to see through. In April 2009 Lamb responded to a fake call from a Fort Worth citizen who said he’d found 86 grams of pot (actually from the FWPD property locker) — about 3.25 ounces — and wanted to dispose of it properly. (“Just funnel some of that into the copper receptacle attached to this long bubbling tube.”) Under surveillance, Lamb took possession of the pot and went to his house, then came back out 10 minutes later. (Grinning and eating a Ho-Ho?)
The 24-year old never filed a report on the pot and was caught transferring some of it, along with his personal effects, from his cruiser to his personal vehicle at the end of his shift, at which time he was arrested. The rest of the pot was found in his house after a search warrant was issued. Lamb resigned last year, and last week plead guilty to a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge. He was given two years probation. (Let’s put it this way — I’d rather they’re stoned than drunk…)
2. Thomas Laughlin
Thankfully you don’t need to understand the law to uphold it, because Sarasota police officer Thomas Laughlin’s got enough crazy to keep Courtney Love twittering like Tweety Bird for months. In April Laughlin filed a document with the court declaring himself a “sovereign citizen.” It included a thumbprint on each page, and a photocopy of 21 silver pieces (a rental) – the price to become a “freeman.” (In Laughlin’s country Xerox’s of money are legal tender.)
Laughlin got the idea from his brother, who’s also declared himself a “sovereign citizen.” (There are more than 300,000 such “sovereign” anti-government loons around the country according to a recent report.) Of course this is the same brother recently charged with trying to extort two Florida Highway Patrol troopers and bilking a Sarasota bank of $50,000. (Stupid is as stupid does, which like Forest Gump, often comes down to the genes.)
Around the same time, coworkers started noticing Laughlin’s obsessive crazy talk and began to perfect the “nod and slowly back away,” as Laughlin babbled about the “global financial conspiracy” and a “straw man account” that allows the government to hide millions from its citizens. Sounding like his tin foil hat needs relining, the 42-year old tells a tale that makes National Treasure sound like a history textbook. He believes the red numbers on Social
Security cards are clues to finding this straw man account, and that birth
certificates were related to secret ships berthed in a port that held
access to millions of straw man dollars.
Before this Laughlin was a well-respected and decorated investigator who’d worked on several high profile cases. He alleges he had second thoughts about the movement when his brother James was pulled over on the interstate and watched him berate the officer, claiming as a sovereign citizen, state laws don’t apply to him. “All I wanted to do was make a political statement about the way things
are going in this country. I didn’t want to be involved in any kind of
extremist movement,” Laughlin told a reporter last week. (Why that’s exactly how America began!)
After an inquiry that included charges of associating with a group that advocates violence, a review board recommended he be suspended for four weeks and transferred out of the criminal investigative division. Instead Chief Mikel Hollaway fired him. Laughlin’s appealing, though he recognizes that he deserves some punishment. “I know what I did was stupid. But I don’t think I deserve to lose my
job over it,” says the 23-year veteran of the force.
Apparently Kenneth Moreno figured his victim’s privates were self-serve and helped himself. He even upheld the protect part of the cop charter by wearing a condom, as he screwed the mostly unconscious New York woman in December 2008 while his partner, Franklin Mata, waited in the living room.
1. Kenneth Moreno
Moreno and Mata first encountered the very inebriated fashion executive after she threw up in a cab her friends had called for her. She was leaving the Park Slope club Southpaw, and the cabbie called 911 saying his passenger needed help getting into her apartment. Mata and Moreno responded to the call at 1 a.m. and helped the woman into her bathroom where she continued to vomit. The 43-year old Moreno and his 28-year old partner promised to check back in on her.
They returned an hour later, when they were let in by another resident after claiming to investigate a noise complaint. They’d been there about 15 minutes when they were forced to leave to handle a traffic accident. After taking care of the accident one of them allegedly called 911 from a pay phone near the accident saying a homeless man was lurking near the woman’s Brooklyn apartment, giving them a pretext to return to her apartment. They arrived at 3 a.m. according to closed-circuit video from a nearby bar. Having noticed the cameras this final visit, they would try to hide their faces on their way out. (Shame can do that to you.)
While inside Moreno moved the woman from the bathroom floor to her bedroom and undressed her. He had sex with the woman while she was passed out on her stomach. That morning the victim complained to friends the cops had raped her and was taken to the hospital. The District Attorney’s office became involved and put a wire on the woman. She confronted the officer that day, and got him to admit to his transgression.
After initially denying raping her, Moreno admits, ” “It wasn’t done intentionally. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I just got caught up.” He tells her he wore a condom, and because he puts the men in mensch, threw her a bone (instead of jamming it in her). “If you stop drinking, I’ll be your boyfriend,” he offered. “I’m not a bad man. I’m a good friend to have.” Yeah, that’s exactly what a rape victim’s looking for — a commitment from her assailant. That’s as welcome as Mel Gibson at temple.
Moreno and Mata go on trial next week for rape, burglary and official misconduct. If convicted, Moreno could be imprisoned for up to 25 years. The two have been idled on paid administrative leave the last two years, collecting over a quarter of a million dollars (Moreno $150,000 and Mata $100,000). Good work if you can get it. I suppose it wouldn’t be fair to ask for the money back if they’re found guilty…
Read last Thursday’s Top 5 Police Blunders: Ladmarald Cates, Milwaukee Cop, Charged With Raping 911 Caller.