Browsing: Police Bungling

Jericho police were so into speed traps they ignored other calls

See update at the end of the jump…

Every state has one — that nasty little town where the police force’s sole duty is to pinch all who pass through for speeding. But Jericho, Arkansas took it to a whole new level.

The village has but 174 residents and not a single business. Yet it also has seven police officers who seem to do nothing more than conduct speed traps. Residents are so pissed that they’ve vandalized squad cars in the past, forcing the department to park them out of town overnight. “You can’t even get them to answer a call because normally they’re
writing tickets,” Crittenden County Sheriff’s investigator Thomas Martin told the Associated Press. “They’re not providing a
service to the citizens.”

So you can imagine Fire Chief Don Payne was a little pissed when he received his second ticket — in the same day. He’d failed to get one ticket dismissed on August 27, then returned to court after receiving a second that day. That’s when an argument erupted between the chief and the seven cops who attended the hearing…

Last week, we told you about egged houses and Texas deputies who allowed barmaids to play with their shotguns. But this week, America’s Finest got into a little more serious trouble. So with out further delay, we bring you our regular Thursday edition of This Week in Police Blundering Countdown:

Richard Padilla Cramer

No. 5: Richard Padilla Cramer: It seems Cramer wasn’t very good at his job as head of the U.S. Customs office in Nogales, Arizona. When he wasn’t stopping illegals from entering the U.S., he was investing in large cocaine shipments, says the DEA. Before he retired in 2007, agents say he provided confidential info to smugglers and invested $400,000 in one 300-pound shipment. Where does a public servant get that kind of money? We can’t tell you. But he may just have a very prosperous paper route.

William Powell

No. 4: William Powell: While there’s nothing wrong with hoisting a beer or 12 at a biker bar, you might just want to avoid bringing a loaded gun along. That’s lesson we can learn today from this New York City officer, who spent the night getting wasted at a Brooklyn biker joint, then decided to blow a hole in his buddy’s car after his gun accidentally discharged. When police responded, Powell attempted to diffuse the situation with modesty and regret. “Don’t f— with me!” he yelled, according to the New York Daily News. “I’m on the job.” Okay, so maybe he has some work to do on that whole regret thing. But he’ll have plenty of time to practice now that he’s been suspended.

Rev. Jonathan Ayers, right

​Reader “Numquamubisububi” responding to “Comment of the Day: Rev. Jonathan Ayers Thought He Was Being Robbed“:

“I’ll use some of your twisted logic and smears and innuendo to ask
questions that insinuate guilt, just as you did:
1) Why are the police refusing to talk about the incident? Are they
getting their stories straight? Are they doing damage control?

“2) Why
have they arrested and not released the woman’s NAME who was allegedly
with Ayers? Are they leaning on her to give evidence favorable to the
cops and damaging to Ayers in exchange for a lenient sentence?

“3) Why
haven’t the police released the names of the officers involved in the
shooting? Why are they hiding behind a wall of silence? Do they have
something to HIDE?
See, anyone can do it…and it still proves NOTHING…”

Also see: “Sympathy for Police in the Rev. Jonathan Ayers Shooting.”

Friends describe Ayers as a true follower of Jesus

See update: Rev. Jonathan Ayers, Killed by Cops in Drug Bust Gone Bad, Was Apparently Having an Affair.

When Rev. Jonathan Ayers was gunned down by police in a Toccoa, Georgia drug sting gone very bad, True Crime readers were outraged (see comments here and here). “It is obvious that this was a botched operation, performed by
undertrained, trigger-happy cops,” wrote reader Edwin. “It is also obvious that the cover-up
has already begun.”

By all accounts Ayers, a pastor at tiny Shoal Creek Baptist Church, was a Christian in every sense of the word. He was a devoted husband with a baby due this winter. Friends and parishioners say he was a giving and gracious, the kind of man who would reach out to anyone. And since police haven’t offered any evidence to the contrary, we have no reason to believe Ayers wasn’t the person people claim him to be.

So it remains a mystery what he was doing that day in Toccoa. Police say he’d given a ride to a woman suspected of being a coke dealer. After he dropped her off, Ayers went to a convenience store to use the ATM. Relatives say he was getting money for new tires on his wife’s car. What happened next became the touchstone for the anger. Either Ayers tried to run the undercover cops over, or blundering police killed an innocent pastor.

This is just how they roll in Round Rock, Texas law enforcement

​If this is Thursday, that means it must be time for another fabulous episode of This Week in Police Bungling! [Cue the French horns.] In fact, True Crime has such a full menu, we can’t tell you about the Minnesota Gang Strike Force that went rogue itself. Or the officer who stun gunned the daughter of a Cincinnati city councilman. Or the Baltimore cops who staged a fake raid — complete with helicopter — to help with a Maryland state delegate’s marriage proposal.

But we can tell you about saucy barmaids posing with rifles, as the fine deputies of Midland County, Texas come in at No. 5 in our countdown…

Kind of like Charlie’s Angels, only with fewer bathing suit scenes

Reason Online writer Radley Balko has reviewed the new reality cop show Police Women of Broward County. The show, which has been widely panned, represents a new low in a genre not known for the highest heights, writes Balko:

“Police work is reduced to clownish pranks, adrenalin-inducing raids,
and telegenic lady cops edited to invoke S&M fantasies for the
shlubs watching at home. No one expects much dignity from cable
networks, but you’d think, for example, that the Broward County
Sheriff’s Department might object to the sexualization of its female
officers, or to a national ad campaign insinuating that they’re
sporting itchy Taser fingers…”

Sheriff Danny Presgraves, sexual harasser extraordinaire

​Longtime Page County, Virginia Sheriff Daniel Presgraves has pleaded guilty to racketeering. But based on his original indictment, which carried maximum penalties of 300 years in a federal slam, he probably got off easy. The evidence against him seemed overwhelming.

It began with a tip that Presgraves was taking kickbacks from a cockfighting ring. Under the agreement, the sheriff wouldn’t arrest the ringleaders and would tip them off if another law enforcement agency was planning a raid.

The sheriff was also accused of doing the same thing for an unnamed company facing legal problems. According to the feds, Presgraves deposited more than $100,000 in cash in his checking account from 2001 until 2004.

Prosecutors further accused the sheriff of ripping off his own department. They say he withheld depositing a $39,000 payment from the U.S. Customs Service, and $47,000 from the company operating pay phones in the Page County Jail. And this was just the beginning of his crimes…

Timothy Kissida tried to trade his hit-and-run BMW in in the Cash for Clunkers program

Today we begin our inaugural voyage of the Monday Stupid Criminal Countdown, where we visit those whom self-respecting bad guys would never invite to dinner.

5. The Snoring Fugitive: When probation and parole officers came looking for Chad R. Kortin of King, Wisconsin, he managed to escape out the back door of a rural cabin. A fisherman saw him dive into the Wisconsin River and disappear. Alas, our hero wasn’t meant for a life on the lam. He was captured the next morning when a nearby resident heard a strange noise coming from his wood pile. Police found Kortin there snoring away.

4. Pot Smoking Police: Honolulu cops Shayne Souza and Kevin Fujioka were playing at a police softball tourney in Vegas when they decided to get intimate in their van with Ms. Marijuana. A cop approached to ask them to move their illegally parked vehicle. But the officers panicked and drove off, and were eventually caught after they abandoned the van and fled on foot. Both are expected to be fired…

Scene from a Honolulu Police training video

​It’s hard to blame Honolulu police officers Shayne Souza and Kevin Fujioka. They’re in Vegas for a police softball tourney. And anyone who’s played softball knows about the long delays between games at these things. So they thought to themselves, “Hmm, perhaps we shall repair to our van for some trusty herb?” After all, they’re Honolulu cops. They’re supposed to be laid back.

That’s when Vegas PD approached. The van was parked illegally and the responding officer only intended to ask the cops to repark. Unfortunately, this is when our heroes panicked and drove away. Vegas police followed; Souza and Fujioka jumped from the van, hoping to escape on foot. But apparently they didn’t make the Honolulu PD softball team on he basis of their speed. Both were caught, and Souza — a SWAT team veteran — had to be pepper sprayed to be subdued. 

They were charged with possession of narcotics, resisting arrest, obstructing a police officer, and DUI narcotics. Though a Honolulu police spokesman praised both officers for their work on the job, he added that they’ll likely be fired.

Thumbnail image for On-the-waterfront.jpg
Fifty years later, Marlon Brando would still have trouble landing a legitimate job

​The New York Waterfront Commission, originated in 1953 to halt the widespread corruption depicted in On the Waterfront, believes the Mafia strictly adheres to bankers’ hours. That seems to be the reason why its entire 50-person police force is scheduled to work the day shift.

While its main job is warding off corruption and ensuring fair hiring, it hasn’t exactly received hearty praise recently. A report by New York Inspector General Joseph Fisch revealed the misuse of Homeland Security funds, rigged tests to hire unqualified cops, and allowing convicted felons to get jobs, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. “Instead of ridding the waterfront of corruption, this agency itself was corrupt,” said Fisch.

And now comes word that commission police don’t even work on nights and weekends, the preferred times for guys named Giuseppe to squire away cargo containers filled with plasma televisions. But at least terrorists always operate during business hours. At least we’re pretty sure about that.

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