Former Glendora cop nailed in drug bust

This from the DA’s office:

LOS ANGELES – The District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division announced charges today against a former Glendora police officer accused of taking money.

Timothy Radogna, 33 (dob 07/10/75), is charged with one count each of possession of a controlled substance with a firearm, possession for sale of a controlled substance and grand theft exceeding $400.

Radogna could be arraigned as early as tomorrow in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. The defendant was charged in a felony complaint for arrest warrant on May 14. Radogna is being held on $150,000 bail.

If convicted as charged, the defendant faces a maximum term of nine years and eight months in state prison.

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Tuesdays Column (Memories of El Monte)

Serious questions need to be asked of the El Monte Police Department’s brass.

Last Wednesday the department came under scrutiny after one of its officers kicked a prone suspect in the head. That the kick came at the end of a high-speed pursuit offers little — if any — justification.

Richard Rodriguez, 22, of El Monte, a tattooed member of the El Monte Flores street gang took the full force kick to the head in stunning hi-def on live television.
Rodriguez was subsequently booked for parole violations, evading police and several other crimes. He is being held in Men’s Central — probably waiting for a bus back to state prison, where he belongs.

The officer who delivered the kick, identified as George Fierro, returned to work the next day. Fierro, come to find out, owns a clothing company that caters to gang members and glorifies the Mexican Mafia.

His “brand” so sickens good cops that at least one tried to warn California gang investigators about a potential rogue in their midst.

“Has anyone seen or know about this gang clothing that a police officer is selling to gangsters,” LAPD Detective David Espinoza wrote. “I understand the gangs really love this cop. I understand the clothing has hiding places for contraband, guns and dope. Things that can hurt our real cops on the street.”

It’s hard to believe, El Monte police Chief Tom Armstrong had no knowledge of Fierro’s extracurricular activities.

There are many other questions Armstrong needs to answer.

At a press conference the day following Rodriguez’s beat down, Armstrong sent Lt. Ken Alva to face the music. He read from a prepared statement, took a limited number of queries, then retreated to the safety of the police station.

On Friday, Armstrong and Alva took the day off. That came despite the fact that both men are very highly paid public servants and their department is facing a crisis.

Armstrong refused Monday to release a tape of the pursuit, which is a public record.


Did Fierro have a reason other than the catch-all “parole violation” for pulling over Rodriguez? Certainly a tape would show that.

What about the department procedures regarding so-called “distraction blows?”
The policy seems pretty vague compared to professional standards required by the LAPD and county Sheriff’s Department.

The City Council also needs to be questioned. For too long those who have taken campaign cash from police department sources have done nothing to improve its image.

Those who don’t get the money have been whining for years about public safety.

If there was ever a chance to clean house in El Monte, now’s the time.

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EMF — a history of the El Monte Flores

Ben Baeder compiled a brief look at El Monte Flores, a gang comprised of 400 members that has its origins in an neighborhood near a nursery.

Richard Rodriguez, who was kicked in the head by an El Monte police officer Wednesday after a high-speed pursuit is a member of the gang, officials said.

Gang experts said the gang has close ties to La Eme, the Mexican Mafia and was linked to the Maxon Road Massacre:

A member of the gang, Luis Maciel, orchestrated the murder of an El Monte family on Maxson Street in 1995, Valdemar said.
Gunmen recruited by Maciel killed five people, including a baby and 5-year-old girl. The murders were in retaliation for Anthony Moreno leaving the Mexican Mafia. Moreno was killed in the attack.
Maciel was sentenced to death.
“They’re everywhere and they’re in the Mexican Mafia,” Valdemar said.

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El Monte cop owns clothing line catering to gang bangers

George Fierro, the El Monte cop identified by sources inside City Hall as the officer who kicked a prone suspect in the head, owns Torcido Clothing, a line of apparel catering to gang members that glorifies prison life.

Here’s an excerpt from Friday’s story:

The Torcido


This logo appears on a t-shirt sold on The number refers to the penal code section for gang crimes. The period in the shirt is a bullet.

Clothing company “features some of the hardestauthentic jail house threads for the streets. Straight from East L.A., Califas …” according to its Web site.’

Selling clothes about gang or prison life is “completely inconsistent” with behavior expected from officers, said Jay Wachtel, a Cal State Fullerton ethics instructor in the criminal justice program.

“I can’t possibly imagine a law enforcement officer selling clothes that glorify gang activity,” he said.

On Torcido’s Web site, shoppers can buy a T-shirt emblazoned with “186.22,” the section of the state’s criminal code that gives more prison time to people who commit a crime related to street gang activity.

Another shirt has “L.A. County Jail” on the front. Another has “Dept. of Corrections P-Bay Segregated Housing Unit,” which refers to the Pelican Bay State Prison unit where leaders of the Mexican Mafia are housed.

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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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Cops suspected of beating handcuffed Diamond Bar man

What was it Hunter S. Thompson said about North Las Vegas?

“North Las Vegas is where you go when you’ve f—ed up once too often on the Strip, and when you’re not even welcome in the cut-rate downtown places. … This is Nevada’s answer to East St. Louis — a slum and a graveyard, last stop before permanent exile to Ely or Winnemucca.

From the Las Vegas Review Journal:

North Las Vegas detectives arrested two of the department’s own officers Thursday for misconduct during a December incident involving a casino patron.

One officer is accused of repeatedly striking the handcuffed California man in the face during the incident. Both officers are accused of lying on a police report.

Police said Mark Alan Miles and James F. Balelo, both 27, were booked into the Clark County Detention Center on charges of filing a false report by a public officer, a gross misdemeanor. Miles also faces a felony charge of oppression under color of office. Both officers have been with the department for almost two years.


The incident that led to the arrests occurred just before midnight Dec. 6 at the Cannery, 2121 E. Craig Road.

Miles and Balelo were called to the casino to deal with a rowdy bar patron from Diamond Bar, Calif. The 31-year-old man, identified in the officers’ arrest report as Luis Enrique Vargas, was handcuffed in a holding cell at the casino after a citizen’s arrest was made by security guards.

He was accused of slamming his beer bottle on the casino bar and punching the screen of a video poker machine.

The arrest reports Miles and Balelo filed against Vargas were vastly different than evidence from the actual video surveillance, according to the report filed against the officers.

While in the holding cell at the casino, Miles, without provocation, repeatedly slapped Vargas and baited him to fight, according to the report filed against the officers. Balelo threatened to “bust” Vargas in the face if Vargas didn’t stop yelling at the hotel security guards who were standing outside the holding cell.

The reports the officers filed claimed that Vargas had threatened them and attempted to bite and spit on them. The officers also made up threatening quotes and attributed them to Vargas in the reports. The surveillance showed instead that he was compliant with the two officers’ requests and did not make any threats, according to the report filed against the officers.


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