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Update: Las Vegas School Cop Who Assaulted, Pulled Gun on Teen Victim During DUI Reinstated With Back Pay

In October of 2015, I posted about Sgt. Anthony Russo of the Clark County School District Police Department. Russo was arrested after he got drunk, ran a red light, hit another car, assaulted the teenage driver of the car he had just crashed into at 60 mph, and then pulled a gun on witnesses who tried to intervene to stop his attack on a completely innocent person who was already “incapacitated” from being hit by some drunk maniac’s car.

At the time the Las Vegas Review Journal described the incident this way:

Troopers said Russo was at fault in the crash that escalated into fight where the off-duty school police sergeant drew his gun. He faces charges that include driving under the influence, failure to obey a traffic signal, possession of a firearm while under the influence of alcohol, drawing a deadly weapon in a threatening manner and two counts of battery, NHP said.

Witnesses said Russo ran a red light at the off-ramp while going about 60 mph before hitting the car, according to arrest records obtained by the Review-Journal. Bystanders went to check on the Hyundai’s passengers, and Russo, wearing “dress clothes,” punched the car’s passenger in the face three times.

When bystanders pulled Russo away from the passenger, he punched one of them in the face and lifted up his shirt, where his firearm was holstered. He pulled out his gun, and a female bystander stood between Russo and others at the scene, according to the arrest record.

That’s when Russo went back to his car.

The arrest record said he failed to take a field sobriety test. He was taken to University Medical Center — as were three other people involved in the crash. Troopers got a warrant to draw four vials of blood from Russo, the arrest record said. He was then booked into the Clark County Detention Center.

That’s obviously some outrageous shit for anyone, let alone a guy who is carrying a gun around a school and in fact already had a prior history of shooting children. There’s no way they could have just swept this under the rug. He had to have been in for some serious punishment after this. Amirite?

Rest assured officers, that’s not the case when you have one of those Magic Uniforms that renders you impervious to any sort of meaningful consequences for your actions, no matter how violent or outrageous they might be. Especially when you’re talking about a department that ruled officers covering up for cops that held an underage drinking party which led to one of the juvenile attendees killing a woman in a drunk driving accident was “within the scope of their duties.”

Not only were the laundry list of charges Sgt. Russo was originally facing reduced to two misdemeanors that resulted in just a fine and a temporary suspension of his license, but his firing has now been reversed. Apparently, according to an arbitrator, repeatedly punching a teenager and pulling a gun (while drunk) and threatening to shoot innocent people trying to stop him from committing assault on that innocent teenager doesn’t represent “a damaging impact to the workplace” or an indication of malice.  That workplace, of course is a building full of teenagers that he carries a gun around in. I can’t see any way his drunken rampage against an “innocent, incapacitated teenager” would be an indicator of some sort of potential workplace threat.

And he’s getting back pay for the two years he sat home. No word yet on whether he also will be getting reinstated as the head of the CCSD police union.

Local News Coverage

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Idaho School Cop Who Stole Thousands of Drugs Sentenced to Just Two Days in Jail After Plea Deal

Officer Paul Hardwicke, a resource officer at Blackfoot High School in Idaho, was caught with his hand in the drug jar in May of 2015. According to the Idaho State Journal, Hardwicke was immediately given a paid vacation (but not arrested) after it was determined that he had stolen thousands of prescription pain killers. The drugs were stolen out of the drop boxes that were being used as part of a drug return program at the school.

Originally he was facing two counts of felony possession of a controlled substance, oxycodone and morphine, and two counts of misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance, tramadol and legend drug (a “legend” drug is what prescription drugs are, for some weird reason, legally called in Idaho). The felonies carry a maximum sentence of seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine each. The misdemeanor charges carry a maximum sentence of one year and a fine of $1,000 each. All told, he was potentially facing up to 16 years in prison.

Of course, he was wearing his Magic Uniform at the time, so that’s not at all what happened. Once he received his customary Policeman’s Discount, he ended up being sentenced to two whole days in jail. (There’s no word on whether he is eligible for good time and thus allowed to get out after one day.)

Via KTVB.com in Idaho Falls:

A former Blackfoot policeman and high school resource officer will spend two days in jail for stealing thousands of prescription painkillers from a drug drop box.

The Post Register reports that Paul Hardwicke pleaded guilty on Wednesday to misdemeanor counts of possession of a legend drug without a prescription and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail and two years of probation, but 178 days of the sentence were suspended.

Hardwicke’s attorney argued his client should get probation since he already lost his job.

Hardwicke was a school resource officer at Blackfoot High School before he was terminated. He started a drug drop box program when people were encouraged to discard unused prescription medications at the police station. Investigators found he was taking medication from the drop box.

And yeah, you read that last paragraph right, Officer Hardwicke is the one that started the drug drop box program in order to encourage residents to bring their unused prescription drugs to the police station for “disposal.” In spite of all the hypocrisy of him being one of those people that kidnap and hold people hostage for the same stuff he’s doing himself, you kinda have to admire this guy a little when you hear about that.

Between thinking far enough ahead to become a cop and secure that get out of jail free card that comes with it and then coming up with a scheme to get people to just bring drugs right to him for free, Hardwicke clearly was way ahead of the game. He slipped up a little at the end and now he’s gonna have to go get hired by another police department after his grueling two days of hard time, but he had a good plan going in.

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Protests in Anaheim After Incident in Which Off Duty Police Officer Shot Gun During Dispute with Young Teens

A dispute on Tuesday that apparently started when off-duty cop Kevin J. Ferguson became angry at a group of teens whom he had previously told to stay off his lawn has since escalated into full protests in and around Anaheim, California. That initial confrontation involving junior high school students (video embedded below) eventually culminated with that off-duty LAPD officer pulling out his gun as other students attempted to push him off a student, who has since been identified as Christian Dorscht. Dorscht, who is fourteen years old, was reportedly verbally defending a female student that the officer had cursed at and possibly also physically grabbed.

Shortly after he had pulled his gun out the officer accidentally discharged the weapon. Although, no-one was hit by that bullet, for obvious reasons, it created a panic amongst the teens, most of whom immediately ran away. Dorscht was handcuffed and taken away by on-duty cops that arrived soon after. He was, however, released the next day after being charged with battery and making criminal threats. An unnamed 15 year old was arrested for undisclosed charges, as well.

One of the contentions from the LAPD is that the officer involved thought he heard Dorscht say, “I’m going to shoot you,” which is what prompted him to pull his gun. The boys parents dispute that account and maintain that their son had said, “I’m going to sue you.” Dorscht’s parents and his stepfather, who is also a cop, have stated that they in fact do intend to sue over the incident.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people took to the streets last night and into the early hours of this morning in response once the video was made public on social media. As many as 300 people protested the officer’s actions and demanded that he be arrested. Those being interviewed by a local news station expressed anger that a grown man would feel the need to fight with children over them walking on a lawn and especially that he would pull his gun against junior high students.

Eventually, those protests relocated to in front of the officer’s home. The protests got decidedly more rowdy at that point, with some people pounding on his garage door and yelling chants such as “No justice – no peace,” “Killer cops, off our streets!” “Don’t shoot our kids!” and someone painting “Fuck Pigs” on a garage door. Within an hour or so, police in riot gear arrived and stood between the crowd and the officer’s house, prompting them to move down the street away from the house. According to police, 24 people, including six underage kids were arrested for misdemeanors including failure to disperse, resisting arrest, and battery on a peace officer during the protests.

Below are Videos and Social Media Posts of the Protests

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