Suit claims West Covina cops routinely hooked up with sex crime victims

The suit, filed by Montebello attorney Arnoldo Casillas on behalf of a man who was arrested by suspended officer Tyler Kennedy makes the explosive claim.
The man says Kennedy arrested him and asked a judge to hold him without bail so that Kennedy could carry on an affair with his wife. Here’s the relevant portion of the suit:


“Officers of the West Covina Police Department were permitted to and regularily did pursue and maintain intimate relationships with the victims in the sexual abuse cases they were investigating,”


Casillas’ suit also claims that West Covina officers routinely discriminate against minorities using illegal searches and seizures — and that city officials covered up the criminal activities of rogue West Covina cops.


Kennedy and West Covina Police Chief Frank Wills deny the claims. West Covina Mayor Shelley Sanderson said she backs the police department.

Here’s the story.


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Former cop admits to stealing from police union

From the Associated Press:

LOS ANGELES — A former Redondo Beach police officer has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $72,000 from his police union.
The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office says 40-year-old Gene Tomatani entered his
plea Wednesday to one count felony grand theft.
He is expected to pay over $85,000 in restitution.
Prosecutors say Tomatani stole from the Redondo Beach Police Officer’s Association while serving as treasurer and then president of the group from 2004 to 2008.
Tomatani will be sentenced March 15. He faces up to four years in state prison.
Tomatani resigned from the department in October.

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Misconduct case makes waves in West Covina and Baldwin Park PDs

From Thomas Himes:

West Covina police have opened an investigation into one of their own after the victim of an alleged rape accused a sergeant assigned to sexual crimes investigations of propositioning her.

In a related, but separate investigation, officials said Thursday the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will probe allegations of misconduct against Baldwin Park police Chief Lili Hadsell, per her request.

A 49-year-old woman told West Covina police investigators Monday that a sergeant propositioned and sexually harassed her during and after a rape investigation he conducted.

The woman alleges she was raped by her estranged husband, a prominent San Gabriel doctor who is Hadsell’s brother. Her estranged husband did not return phone calls seeking comment.

“I was raped, going through a nasty divorce and then they stick me with this cop,” the woman said in an interview. “He harassed me through the whole investigation. I was scared. I’m still scared.

“Who do you trust?” she said.

The sergeant under investigation did not return calls seeking comment.

West Covina police Chief Frank Wills said his department will investigate the woman’s claims. He added the law limits what he can say about police personnel matters.

“The department is aware of the allegations and is taking appropriate steps to look into those allegations,” Wills said.

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DA clears El Monte cop in kick case

From staff writer Brian Charles: 

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The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office will not file charges against an El Monte police officer who kicked a suspect in the face at the end of a pursuit.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, prosecutors said Officer George Fierro was justified in kicking Richard Rodriguez because the officer feared Rodriguez might try to get up off the ground. 

Prosecutors described the kick as a “distraction blow to get (Rodriguez) top submit to the arrest.”

Prosecutors also said they would not charge Officer James Singleterry, who hit Rodriguez four times on the arm with a flashlight. The kick followed a high speed car chase on May 13. At the end of the chase, Rodriguez crashed his car and ran.

El Monte City Councilwoman Emily Ishigaki called the decision “wonderful news.”
“I have always felt George was a good officer. He does a good job in the field. He is very experienced,” she said. 
Ishigaki, who has known Fierro for 12 years, said she was confident officials conducted a thorough investigation before making their decision. 
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Corruption, racism and other strange happenings in the Valley

Lately, there’s been a hefty dose of folks taking filet knives to local government and exposing some of the dirty inner workings. Here’s a sampling of some of the bad and the ugly:

A group of Montebello cops claim their chief is a racist who only promotes his white friends. The claim carries a $30 million price tag.
The grand jury indicts a cop accused of embezzling $500,000 from tow fees collected at the Industry Station. Sgt. Joe Dyer had been on leave since 2008.
In the camellia-scented cesspool that is Temple City, a former city council candidate pleaded guilty to perjury in a case that will probably expose a corrupt money laundering scheme involving Piazza Las Tunas. 
Welcome to the San Gabriel Valley!
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Chief and officer kissing video stirs trouble in Ohio

Watch the video:

CANTON, Ohio — The police chief of a northeast Ohio township has retired after a video became public showing him and a female office kissing and caressing in the front of a police cruiser while a prisoner was in the back seat.

Timothy Escola retired Tuesday night after four years with the Perry Township police department about 50 miles south of Cleveland. Law Director Charles Hall says Escola’s retirement closes an internal investigation.

Hall says no charges are being considered against part-time officer Janine England, who was with Escola in the cruiser June 2.

Escola and England drove to the Cincinnati area to pick up a burglary suspect.

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Minor rap sheet, major headache in El Monte

A couple of quick updates in El Monte police department beating of a prone suspect:

First of all, suspect Richie “Turtle” Rodriguez apparently had a rap sheet filled with minor, non-violent offenses. Police have said Turtle was a member of El Monte Flores.

In the LA Times, City Councilwoman Pat Wallach, a frequent and vocal critic of the department, refused to criticize the actions of the cop who did the kicking.

“We are waiting for reports before we make specific comments on what occurred,” said Wallach.

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Jerry Brown sets sights on Maywood PD

California Attorney General Jerry Brown will unveil the findings of a 16-month probe into the Maywood Police Department this afternoon. Here’s the AP’s version of the story:

LOS ANGELES–A small police department that patrols two gritty cities engaged in widespread use of unlawful force and routinely lacked probable cause to justify arrests and searches, the state attorney general said Tuesday.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown released a lengthy report detailing the findings of a 16-month investigation of the Maywood Police Department.

The report slammed the department on several fronts, criticizing its hiring of officers with misdemeanor convictions and its fostering of what it called an endemic attitude of discourtesy, sexism and racial insensitivity.

“The Maywood Police Department engaged in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprived persons of rights, privileges or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution,” the report states.

Maywood Police Chief Frank Hauptmann’s executive assistant Evelyn Ruedas said the chief was declining comment on the report.

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Verdict in Carona case reached *

Jurors in the trial of former Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona have reached a verdict, according Thom Mrozak with the U.S. Department of Justice. The verdict will be read at 11:45 a.m Pacific.

Carona, who grew up in Covina, is accused in a massive corruption case that led to the dismantling of his department. We’ll have the verdict when it arrives.

* Cleared on all but one count. This from CBS 2:

A jury Friday acquitted former Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona of all but one count of witness tampering in a lengthy corruption trial against the former head of the nation’s fifth largest sheriffs department.

Carona, 53, who Larry King dubbed “America’s sheriff” after the capture of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion’s killer, was cleared of one count of conspiracy, three counts of mail fraud and a second count of witness tampering.

Witnesses to the hearing described Carona as “shaking and sobbing” when the verdict was read.

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