Tag Archives: internal investigation

Las Vegas SWAT Team Commander Under Investigation For Financial Exploitation of Elderly Couple

Lt Tom Melton LVMPD SWAT Commander Elderly Exploitation

Last week, it was announced that Lieutenant Tom Melton had been placed on administrative leave (AKA paid vacation) as the result of a criminal investigation. Melton is the commander of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department‘s SWAT team. He’s also been one of the public faces of the LVMPD, oftentimes being interviewed by local media and frequently providing briefings at crime scenes.

Initially, Metro declined to give any details about what the nature of that investigation was. However, soon after his suspension was announced a search of public records indicated that he has ties to a woman already facing over 200 charges of defrauding elderly people placed under her care. Lt. Melton had been appointed as legal guardian and trustee for Jerome and Beverly Flaherty, an elderly couple, who have since died. April Parks, the woman previously charged, was awarded co-guardianship of the Flahertys with Melton.

In March, Parks was indicted on charges including perjury, racketeering, filing false records, theft and exploitation, as part of a for-profit professional guardianship service. Parks has been characterized as the “ringleader of a small group” that included her husband; Gary Neal Taylor, an attorney named Noel Palmer Simpson, and her office manager; Mark Simmons. All four have been accused of taking advantage of the guardianship system to exploit and defraud the people placed under their supervision.

After confirmation was received that Lt. Melton was in fact the focus of an investigation into exploitation of an elderly couple, his attorney denied that he was involved in the fraud. Instead, he maintains that he had only hired Parks to care for the couple, whom he describes as friends of Melton. No other details relating to the nature of the investigation into Lt. Melton’s involvement have been released by the LVMPD.

Of course, it very well could be that he had no involvement in the fraud Parks and her partners are accused of. However, the timing of the suspension could potentially indicate otherwise. The fact that the other people involved were indicted in March and Melton didn’t come under investigation until the end of July would seem to imply that there’s more to it. It’s also a bit contradictory that none of the family members of the hundreds of other victims Parks exploited appear to be under investigation.

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Philadelphia Taxpayers Forced to Pay $4.4 Million to Innocent Delivery Man Undercover Cops Ambushed

Last week, the Philadelphia Police Department agreed to the largest settlement in the history of the city to pay off an innocent man that two undercover cops shot at fourteen times. In April of 2014, Philippe Holland was delivering food when Officers Mitchell Farrell and Kevin Hanvey ran at him without ever identifying themselves as police officers.

Holland, having no reason to know they were cops and seeing that one of them was holding a gun, believed he was being robbed and tried to escape in his car. In spite of it specifically being against policy to do so, Farrell and Hanvey used the excuse that they “feared for their lives” from the car being used as a weapon to open fire on Holland. As a result, Holland, who was twenty years old at the time, now suffers from a permanent seizure disorder and still has bullet fragments lodged in his brain.

In spite of witness statements that contradict the two officers’ story, the district attorney (not at all surprisingly) declined to press any charges against them. Instead, they’ve been given a paid vacation for the past two years, while the slap on the wrist they will eventually receive from the department remains “pending.”

Via Philly.com:

It is the largest settlement in a police shooting case in the city’s history, according to Philadelphia Law Department records.

Then-Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said shortly after the shooting that Officers Mitchell Farrell and Kevin Hanvey had fired at the wrong man.

On Friday, the mayor’s office called the shooting “an unfortunate, regrettable series of events.”

“We will strive to ensure that tragedies such as this do not happen again in our city,” City Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante said in the statement.

Philippe Holland was delivering a cheeseburger to a house on the 5100 block of Willows Avenue in West Philadelphia on April 22, 2014, as police responded to reports of gunshots nearby.

In a deposition, he said he saw Farrell and Hanvey approaching him and thought he was about to get robbed. He slipped into his car through the passenger door, he said – and that’s when one officer shined a light into the car and Holland saw a gun in the other’s hand.

He told police that Farrell and Hanvey never identified themselves as police officers. He said that he panicked and tried to pull out of his parking spot – and that the two men opened fire on him, hitting him in the head and body.

At the time, it was against police regulations for officers to fire at a moving vehicle unless someone inside the car was threatening them or someone else with some form of deadly force other than the vehicle itself.

Hanvey and Farrell told investigators they approached Holland because they saw him walking past a Chinese restaurant on 51st Street and asked a witness on the street where the gunshots she’d heard had come from. They said the woman had pointed toward Holland and said the shots came from where he was walking.

But the woman later told police investigators she had only pointed toward the Chinese restaurant, and didn’t mention a man at all.

Hanvey and Farrell insisted that they told Holland they were police and that he drove his car toward them, making them fear for their lives.

Holland, a student at Delaware County Community College, was left with a permanent seizure disorder and has bullet fragments in his brain, according to his attorney, Tom Kline, who announced the settlement Friday.

The District Attorney’s Office declined to press charges in the case. According to police documents Kline provided to the Inquirer and the Daily News, the department’s Use of Force Review Board concluded that Farrell and Hanvey had violated department policy, though the board did not specify a punishment for that violation.

A police spokesman said that the two have been on administrative duty since the shooting, and that “discipline is still pending.”

The department could not say whether the officers will return to the street.

At least the taxpayers of Philadelphia get to pay for this “unfortunate, regrettable series of events,” while the two officers actually responsible for it have had plenty of time to sit home getting paid to think about what they did. That certainly should ensure that “tragedies such as this do not happen again” in their city.

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Philadelphia Police “Reviewing Tactics” of Cop Seen Slamming, Punching Teen Girl on Video

Several videos (embedded above and below) posted online showed an incident that occurred on Monday, during which a female Philadelphia police officer can be seen grabbing a sixteen year old girl, slamming her to the ground, and then, after straddling her chest, throwing numerous punches at her face.

The unnamed officer was part of a group of police officers that showed up to break up a large fight that apparently involved members of two families. Johnnae Pendleton, the girl seen being hit in the video, has since stated that she was trying to defend her mother just prior to being pushed away by one officer and then confronted by the officer who eventually assaulted her.

Although, Pendelton appears to be arguing with the first officer, the second officer (who punched her) acts aggressively toward her from the time that she initially approaches Pendelton from behind and pulls her around. While seemingly yelling at her to leave, she also repeatedly points her fingers into the teen’s face, appearing to make physical contact several times, at least. According to witnesses, Pederson was responding by telling her not to touch her.

Shortly after, the officer can be seen grabbing Pederson and spinning her around before throwing her to the ground. She then follows up by sitting on top of her chest and repeatedly punching at her head and face as Pederson attempts to block those punches. At some point, the officer also pulls out a telescoping baton. After several bystanders move close and yell for her to get off Pederson, at least two other cops, who are also holding batons, intercede before the video ends.

Via 6ABC.com (in Philadelphia):

The Internal Affairs Unit is now investigating an incident caught on video involving a 12th District Philadelphia police officer and a teenager.

All charges against 16-year-old Johnnae Pendleton, the girl seen in cell phone video, were dropped Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s just an ugly situation from start to finish,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross. “There’s no denying that.”

The melee was captured on cell phone video in Southwest Philadelphia on 54th near Springfield Monday afternoon.

Police arrived to find a large group of teens fighting in the street.

In the video, a 12th District officer and a teen, later identified as Pendleton, separate from the group.

Action News spoke with Pendleton Tuesday about what happened from her perspective.

Pendleton contends she was trying to help her friend’s mother, who was being detained by police, when the officer started pushing her back.

“It went from there. She was dragging me by my hair, banging my head on the ground, on the car, punching me, sat on top of me and was punching me in my face,” Pendleton said.

Caliph Douglass captured the cell phone video.

He said he found what he was witnessing “confusing” because he also thought the Pendleton was trying to back away.

“The girl was saying ‘Don’t touch me. You don’t got to touch me.’ Then, the next thing you know she just swung the little girl to the ground and started punching her,” Douglass said.

Commissioner Ross says Pendleton was refusing the officer’s commands, and the officer reported that the teen knocked her glasses off her face.

“One of the things that did not get captured on the video that the young lady admitted to in her interview is that she actually smacked the officer in the face, knocking her glasses off her face,” Ross told Action News.

The teen told police she wasn’t hurt at all, and the 12th District officer, with several years on the job, had minor bruising to her eye.

The officer’s tactics are now under review by Internal Affairs.

“When I say tactics, it’s a possibility, before they hit the ground, that something could’ve been done a little differently. That’s not a legal thing as much as it is a tactical thing, but it’s a decision that gets made in a split second,” Ross said.

Pendleton was initially charged with assault on a police officer.

The district attorney declined to move forward with those charges and Pendleton was released from custody.

“I am happy that it was caught on video because if it wasn’t, I would have been charged and I would’ve been in a youth study center or something,” Pendleton said.

A source tells Action News the video and witness statements seem to indicate that Pendleton never intentionally tried to harm the officer.

“Both parties told the truth,” said Ross. “There’s not a whole lot of discrepancy between the two stories. It just doesn’t happen that often like that.”

Ross said the officer will remain off the street while the Internal Affairs investigation into the matter continues.

So, it’s interesting that, even though the “investigation” is still going on, Commissioner Ross has already announced that it’s “not a legal thing,” but rather a matter of tactics. Probably, one of the tactics that someone should avoid when they are trying to break up a fight would be to not act aggressively and escalate a confrontation.

Not physically pushing and jabbing your fingers at someone would be another questionable tactical consideration. Maybe, repeatedly punching someone when they are already on the ground and under your control would be another strategic “faux pas” that should be avoided.

Of course, if you’re a cop and you know there’s little to no chance you’ll suffer any sort of meaningful consequences for your actions, you probably don’t have to quibble over “tactics.”

Interview of Teen Seen Being Punched:

Video Posted to Instagram:

Longer Video That Shows Part of Initial Fight:

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Ohio Deputy Arrested Driving Drunk for Third Time Since He Became a Cop After Causing Accident

On Christmas Eve, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Deputy David Miller was arrested for driving drunk after he caused a multiple car accident. The real kicker to this story is that this is reportedly Deputy Miller’s third DWI offense, all of which occurred during the time he has been heroically serving as a cop. Miller, whose job is actually driving prisoners around town, was also carrying his department issued firearm in his vehicle at the time he was stopped.

BTW, the reason I said “reportedly” his third arrest is because he was also convicted of “failure to control” for “driving on sidewalks/street lawns/curbs.” Call me a skeptic, but I guarantee you that means this is really his fourth drunk driving incident. It’s just that during the last one the Good Cops that stopped him (on someone’s lawn) decided to leave part of that story out. (It would be interesting to know how many times they just let him go altogether.)

Via NewsNet5.com, the Cleveland ABC affiliate:

A Cuyahoga County sheriff’s deputy is facing several charges including operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVI) after he caused a two-car accident Saturday night, according to North Olmsted police.

No one was injured.

The deputy, David Miller, a North Olmsted resident, was arraigned in Rocky River municipal court Tuesday and pled not guilty. North Olmsted police said he has three prior OVI arrests. Of those, court records indicate Miller has two prior OVI convictions, one out of Elyria in 2007 and one out of Westlake in 1994. Records also show he was found guilty of failure to control and driving on sidewalks/street lawns/curbs in Westlake in 2013.

A spokeswoman for the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department said Miller was hired in 1997. He started as a county corrections officer in 1993. As a deputy, the spokeswoman said he is responsible for transporting prisoners.

North Olmsted police said Miller is also charged with refusing to take a breathalyzer test and passing in a no-passing zone. Saturday’s incident happened on Gessner Road near Lorain Road at about 5:40 pm.

At the time of Miller’s latest arrest, police said he had his county-issued firearm in his personal vehicle. The city prosecutor will determine if there will be any additional charges.

Miller is on unpaid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

Personally, I can’t wait to see how that investigation pans out. Perhaps, four five times will be the charm…

Update: News 5 Cleveland is now stating that Deputy Miller was convicted of yet another DWI prior to being hired. (See the video below for details.)

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NY Cop Known for Satire Videos About Police Brutality Charged with Choking/Harassment

Richard Hy, a Buffalo Police Officer who became internet famous for 15 minutes earlier this year when he was suspended for posting satire videos making light of police brutality and other types of misconduct has now been charged with harassing and choking someone he was involved in an “altercation” with.

The unnamed victims were said to have been recording a music video using their cell phones when they were involved in some sort of incident with Officer Hy and an off-duty West Seneca Police Officer, whom the department has refused to identify. Although, very little details have been released concerning the incident that happened on September 13th, Hy was charged with harassment and “obstruction of breath.” The West Seneca Police Officer has reportedly been suspended as well while an internal “investigation” is being conducted, although whether he is on a paid or unpaid vacation was not specified.

Previously, Officer Hy had received quite a bit of notoriety when he was suspended by the Buffalo Police Department in February of this year for posting “Vines” under the title “Angry Cops.” The satirical videos uploaded to that channel included many that joked about prison rape, police brutality and shootings, and stealing from the evidence room. One of them included a video in which he claimed to have stolen a bag of cocaine from evidence and can be seen with (presumably) simulated traces of coke on his face.

Being that cops, including Officer Hy now, are routinely caught doing those things, it didn’t sit well with his department once he began to get a large following on various social media sites. He was suspended for 22 days for violating the Buffalo Police Departments’ social media policy. Partly because he often did the videos in uniform with his badge and name tag clearly visible.

At the time, he defended his videos to the New York Daily News:

Hy, 29, told the Daily News he thought the clips humanized cops at a time when police tactics are under scrutiny nationwide.

“Did I do anything for malice? Absolutely not,” he said.

“I just thought it was harmless fun…”

“It was kind of like a visual diary, just to show the lighter side of the job,” he said.

As is often the case though when cops show their true nature and thought process by making jokes about assaulting or otherwise harming citizens, that fun wasn’t so harmless back in September when he was caught actually choking someone, which is kinda why police tactics are under scrutiny nationwide.

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