Police academy misconduct alleged

Cheating. And, porn and guns and aspiring cops. That’s the atmosphere at the Rio Hondo Police Academy, according to a former employee who laid it all out for the school’s Board of Trustees in a letter that we’ve exclusively obtained. Here’s a bit of Dan Tedford’s story on the subject:

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“There are police officers on the street not properly trained with the shotgun,” Lopez wrote in the letter. “If there is an accidental discharge or one of these officers shoots someone with the shotgun, and there is a (sic) law suit, the college will be on the hook for any damages.”

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Woman says she was raped by West Covina officer

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WEST COVINA – The city placed a West Covina Police officer on paid leave amid a criminal investigation into claims the officer raped a woman, law enforcement officials said Wednesday.

A 41-year-old woman said West Covina Police Officer Hector Garay raped her on June 30 inside her West Covina apartment. This newspaper does not identify alleged victims of sex crimes.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Amy Hanson, an internal criminal investigator with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department confirmed a probe into the woman’s allegations against Garay is underway.

Garay, 52, of Corona, did not discuss the allegations.

“I’m not going to comment,” Garay said.

Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore and Sgt. Scott Craig, the sheriff’s department lead internal criminal investigator, deferred all questions to West Covina Police Chief Frank Wills.

Wills declined to discuss the specifics of the probe and didn’t name the officer involved.

“The allegations, even if true, have nothing to do with on-duty conduct or matters in the scope of his employment,” Wills said.

Wills said the alleged victim has a “long history” of making false allegations against West Covina Police officers. 

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Lawsuit targets LA Sheriff’s deputies for sex with alleged crime victims

A federal civil rights lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court Wednesday alleges the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department encourages deputies to seek out intimate relationships with alleged victims of crimes.

The lawsuit also alleges the Sheriff’s Department routinely covers up inappropriate relationships and conflicts-of-interests and conducts internal investigations aimed at exonerating accused deputies.

The lawsuit, filed by Arnoldo Casillas on behalf of Alberto Gutierrez of Rosemead, seeks unspecified damages.

“There’s this problem and practice of sweeping this behavior under the rug,” said Casillas at a press conference Wednesday in Montebello.

Sheriff’s officials denied the allegations leveled at the department and Detective Phil Solano, a 29-year-veteran who works at the Industry substation.

Solano did not return three calls seeking comment.

Read more: http://www.sgvtribune.com/ci_15312967#ixzz0r5NSPvVI

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Facebook friending gets Industry detective reassigned

A sheriff’s spokesman said officials reassigned an Industry detective to administrative duty after allegations surfaced that he had a Rosemead man arrested to further a relationship with the man’s wife.

Detective Phil Solano remains at the Industry Station pending the outcome of the investigation, said Steve Whitmore, spokesman for Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.

The probe began in April shortly after the Sheriff’s Department received a complaint, Whitmore said.

“That’s news to me,” Solano said of the investigation. He declined to comment further.

According to court documents, Alberto Gutierrez, 36, was arrested in June 2008 on suspicion of making death threats and violating a domestic restraining order, Solano investigated the case.

In September 2008 Solano arrested Gutierrez on suspicion of violating a restraining order and stalking.

Gutierrez said at the time of his arrests he didn’t know Solano and his wife Mayela Gutierrez knew each other. But, during his April trial, Gutierrez learned that his wife and Solano were Facebook friends. Solano testified under oath that he had “one communication” with Mayela, according to court documents.

Despite the Internet relationship with the suspect’s wife, Solano, a 29-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, investigated the case and testified against Gutierrez, according to court documents.

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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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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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Three LAPD officers charged with perjury

From the DA’s office:

LOS ANGELES – Three Los Angeles Police Department officers who allegedly lied under oath about during a drug possession trial last year were charged today with conspiracy and perjury.

Deputy District Attorney Sean Hassett with the Justice System Integrity Division said former LAPD Officer Evan Samuel, and Officers Richard Amio and Manuel Ortiz are scheduled to surrender on Thursday for arraignment.

Hassett filed a felony complaint for arrest warrant on Monday charging 37-year-old Samuel, 30-year-old Amio, and 36-year-old Ortiz with one count each of conspiracy. In addition, Samuel is charged with three counts of perjury. Amio is charged with two counts of perjury and Ortiz is charged with one count of perjury. All are felonies.

During a preliminary hearing and later during the June 2008 trial for Guillermo Alarcon, the three allegedly falsely testified about seeing the defendant Alarcon throw away a black object near a trash bin that turned out to be cocaine base. Ortiz allegedly denied under oath that he was in fact the officer who found a package containing cocaine powder near a dumpster while the other officers were searching a laundry room for drugs.

Samuel and Amio also signed under penalty of perjury a police report that was allegedly false.

Alarcon’s drug possession case was dismissed in June 2008 at the request of prosecutors after footage from the apartment building’s security camera contradicted the sworn testimony of the officers.

All three are scheduled for arraignment after 1:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Criminal Justice Center, Department 30. Hassett is asking that bail be set at $120,000 for Samuel, $70,000 for Amio and $45,000 for Ortiz.

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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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LAPD detective picked up in 1986 cold case homicide

This from LAObserved via the LA Times:

Stephanie Ilene Lazarus, 49, was arrested this morning at Parker Center. Cold case investigation into the 1986 beating death of the wife of her ex-boyfriend led to Lazarus, and her DNA was secretly gathered last week to help make the case.

In a City News story, the head of the Police Protective League is also quoted responding to the news:

Paul M. Weber, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, said Lazarus’
arrest “is deeply disturbing to LAPD officers and the people of Los Angeles.”
“If convicted, the actions of one police officer should not tarnish the trust and
respect the public has for the more than 9,800 dedicated police officers who serve and
protect the community and its residents every day,” he said.

Here’s the LATimes story archive on the case.

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