Top 5 Police Blunders: Baltimore Cops Beat, Cheat & Harass; All in a Day's Work
Thursday, March 3, 2011 at 8:54 am
Hartford, Connecticut police officer Hector Robles got into the wrong line of work, something he's since corrected. The 39-year old former police officer was arrested Tuesday and charged with two felony counts of first-degree larceny after allegedly falsifying time sheets and double-dipping on the public dime.
According to an internal affairs investigation, Robles collected police pay for claiming to be on duty while working private duty jobs for which he was also paid. From September 2008 to September 2009 Robles defrauded the Hartford PD out of $10,651.81. The 15-year veteran of the force was fired in November.
Fortunately for Robles, there's a job where lying, hiding income sources and picking the taxpayer's wallet are, if not exactly acceptable behavior, isn't particularly surprising or noteworthy. Yes, Robles has reinvented himself as a politician. Indeed last year he won a second term to the Connecticut State House despite the allegations and firing. Just more proof that we hold politicians to a lower standard. (Kinda like Charlie Sheen.)
Each of Robles' two felony counts are punishable by 20 years in jail, though obviously it's difficult to imagine him serving even 1/50th of that. But we can hope!
We're a culture of winners, but we'd like to think that competitive bulldog spirit doesn't interfere with the application of justice. Of course, we'd be wrong! Former Wayne County, Michigan chief drug prosecutor Karen Plants will have an opportunity to see how the other (incarcerated) half live when she begins her six-month sentence for perjury and conspiracy after reaching a plea agreement shortly before commencement of her trial.
Plants, along with retired Wayne County Circuit Judge Mary Waterstone and two police officers were charged almost two years ago in connection with the prosecution of a Downriver bar owner, Alexander Aceval, busted with more than 100 pounds of cocaine. Plants allowed the informant, Chad Povish, and others to knowing lie about Povish's role in the enormous seizure. Povish received $4500 for the tip, and expected more. Aceval plead guilty after a jury couldn't reach a verdict in the first trial, but is now trying to have his conviction thrown out, arguing that misconduct sullied the entire legal process. (He hasn't succeeded yet.)
Plants was feeling the heat with her trial scheduled to begin next week. Last week the two ex-Inkster cops Robert McArthur and Scott Rechtzigel had their felony charges dismissed as both pleaded guilty to willful neglect of duty, in exchange for agreeing to testify against Plants. We're not sure if their television privileges have been revoked, but most teens face worst punishments. McArthur got a 90-day sentence and former Sgt. Rechtzigel escaped without any jail time or probation.
Plants had her law license suspended and has exchanged her $120,000 year job for a $20,000 one doing social work. Meanwhile former Judge Waterstone (who, like Plants, retired when the allegations emerged) is set to go to trial in May on a five-year felony charge of misconduct in office.
Someone needed to remind these people of that old, but accurate little league aphorism: It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game.
Federal prosecutors are under investigation on charges someone involved in a public corruption probe may have leaked evidence to the target of the probe, Nancy Quon, allowing her to destroy key evidence. Quon, a construction defects lawyer, is at the center of an investigation of massive fraud involving Las Vegas homeowners associations.
Unnamed sources suggest that the investigation goes beyond the U.S. Attorney's office, and may include political officials who know the well-connected Quon, and may have also passed along confidential information. Quon allegedly once brought in as much as $100 million through construction defect lawsuits on behalf of homeowners associations.
The scam allegedly involved rigging homeowner association board elections to position conspirators -- including former Las Vegas police officers -- who'd push the HOAs to file construction defect lawsuits. The concern is that the misconduct by prosecutors and politicians may have compromised the whole, long-running case, which came to light in September 2008 after a series of FBI raids that have yet to produce any indictments.
It's no longer become enough to throw the bums out. I think lining them up against the wall would be a much better deterrent for the rampant public corruption of the last few years. Excessive? Of course, but it wouldn't be necessary for long.
What is it about wearing a badge that gives cops such chubbies they can't wait until they get off-duty and back home to their wife/girlfriend/local hooker. Last week El Paso, Texas police arrested 29-year old officer Zake Rivera for sexual assault.
According to the affidavit, the 29-year old officer and his partner responded to a domestic violence call on January 23rd in West El Paso. The officers separated the the offending couple, which is standard procedure. Rivera, who's married with children, then led the woman to the backseat of the squad car.
What followed was definitely not "standard" as he forced the traumatized woman to spit-polish his pink helmet against her will. When she finished, he rewarded her by covering her shirt in DNA evidence, helping corroborate her story. (In the voice of Agent Maxwell Smart: "Would you believe I was momentarily sleepwalking and had a nocturnal emission? I missed her mouth by that much!")
The four-year police vet is free on bail, and on administrative leave while termination proceedings are begun.
It was quite a day for Baltimore Law Enforcement, as the paddy wagon collected a lot more from the station than it dropped off. A large part of that contingent were the 31 officers involved in a towing kickback scheme.
Majestic Auto Repair Shop is in the center of the investigation. They offered each officer $300/car to steer vehicles damaged in roadside accidents to the shop. Officers are supposed to let the vehicle owners arrange their own tow, or if they decline, to call one of the companies under contract with the city. (Needless to say, Majestic isn't one of them.)
Officers would fill out that the owner arranged their own tow or leave it blank, while telling the motorist that Majestic would help with the insurance claim and waive the deductible. One officer made over $14,000 over two years in this manner. Of the 31 officers implicated, 14 were suspended, and 17 were arrested and face charges of conspiracy and extortion.
Meanwhile across town, Donte Harris was deciding whether to accept the city's offer of $95,000 for the trauma he suffered when he was busted by Officer Babatunda Orlsadelle while walking to the store with a friend. Asked what they were busted for, Orisadelle told them "loitering," though they were eventually charged with disorderly conduct and disobeying a police officer, which prosecutors elected not to pursue.
After putting the two men in handcuffs and throwing them in the squad, Orlsadelle pulled Harris back out, patted him down and demanded to know if he had any drugs on him. While Harris denied having anything illegal on him, Orlsadelle unzipped the Harris' pants and cupped his balls, prompting Harris to say, "Hey man, you ain't supposed to be doing that." (I would probably have used less friendly terms in expressing this sentiment.)
At this Orlsadelle squeezed like he were making fresh orange juice. He continued with the Jack Bauer act, and, to emphasize his desire to know what drugs Harris might have on him, zapped him in the stomach with Taser, than Tased him again when the handcuffed suspect fell on the ground. He never reported the use of the Taser in his report. He's been suspended with pay since August of last year.
In the best bit of news, a Circut Court judge upheld the firing of BPD officer Salvatore Rivieri for verbally harassing, physically knocking down and taking the skateboard of 14-year old Eric Bush, when Rivieri caught him skating on the outdoor mall area of the inner harbor in 2007. The altercation was captured on video, which went viral, and which we reported on in 2009.
Coming off as such an enormous prick you half expect to discover he's made of moldable plastic, Rivieri threatened to "smack [Bush] upside the head," and told him that someone would kill Bush if he did not learn "the meaning of respect." He then grabbed the kid, pushed him to the ground and took his skateboard. After the video was initially released in February 2008, another video of Rivieri's bullying prick act surfaced.
Though the victim's family sued, the case was dismissed in September 2009. Nearly year later, and three years after the inciting incident, Rivieri was finally fired in August of last year after nearly 20 years on the job. (Pricks tend to reveal themselves slowly, to heighten the anticipation.)
Last week the firing was upheld. We say, good riddance to bad rubbish.
Read last Thursday's Top 5 Police Blunders: Kenneth Moreno Accused of Raping Drunk Woman After Getting Her Home.