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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Two Good Cops Suspended For Failing to Report Bad Apple Choking Handcuffed Man in Waco

Last week, two Good Cops that had responded to a call for backup stood by while the Bad Apple who had called them choked a handcuffed suspect. Then they inadvertently forgot to mention that in their police reports.

Qualon Deshon Weaver, the man who was choked while being arrested after hurting Officer George Neville’s delicate feels by repeating an insult that had been directed at him originally, was also denied medical care after the choking incident.

Unfortunately for them, it was all caught on a dash cam, although that footage has not been released yet. As a result, all three police officers have been suspended amid an internal “investigation” into whose wrist should be slapped and how hard.

Via KWTX.com:

Three patrol officers were suspended after the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office previewed dashcam video of the arrest and determined that one of the officers grabbed the suspect, Qualon Deshon Weaver, 35, by the neck, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said in a press release Friday.

Street Crimes Unit Officers Kevin Spicer, Adam Beseda and George Neville were all placed on administrative leave pending the completion of internal and criminal investigations…

Spicer and Beseda stopped Qualon Deshon Weaver, 35, for a traffic violation on May 4 near the intersection of J.J. Flewellen and Herring Avenue, but arrested him on evading arrest and marijuana possession charges, Swanton said.

Neville and a second officer responded to assist after Weaver pulled to a stop about 550 feet from Rapoport Academy Elementary School.

“Mr. Weaver was handcuffed, and during his arrest, Officer Neville grabbed Mr. Weaver around his neck,” Swanton said.

Weaver, who’s free on bond, told KWTX earlier this week he was shown the video on Monday by Internal Affairs officers.

“I saw them choking me hard,” he said.

He told KWTX one of the officers choked him after an exchange of words.

“He called me a dumbass so I called him a dumbass back, so he started choking me,” he said.

Weaver has a lengthy criminal record, but his attorney, Jason Darling of Waco, says the treatment his client received was unwarranted.

“You’re still innocent until proven guilty,” he said.

“You still have your constitutional rights even if you have a previous criminal history,” he said.

“Law enforcement has to follow the rules and procedures.”

Qualon Deshon Weaver Waco PD ChokedAfter previewing the dashcam video on June 9, the District Attorney’s Office contacted the Waco Police Department, which immediately launched an internal investigation and determined a separate criminal investigation was warranted, Swanton said.

Neville and Beseda were placed on administrative leave the same day.

Spicer was placed on leave on June 16 based on information discovered as the internal investigation progressed, Swanton said.

It shouldn’t be hard to figure out that someone wasn’t a threat and didn’t need to be choked whiled handcuffed. Not that this “investigation” is likely to turn out any different than the vast majority do.

You can pretty much count on the fact that the paid vacation these police officers have been given will likely be the harshest penalty they receive by the time all is said and done.

**Update** In October 2016, Officer Neville was indicted on charges of official oppression and assault, both are only misdemeanors.

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Ohio Deputy Who Assaulted Handcuffed 17 Year Old in Court Fired; No Charges Filed

Deputy Dan Comerford, who was previously placed on paid administrative leave (AKA paid vacation) for assaulting a 17 year old in juvenile court back in April while the teen was handcuffed, has been fired by the Cuyohoga County Sheriff’s Department.

However, it was also announced that the Comerford would not be facing any charges for the attack on a defenseless 17 year old. The assault was reportedly caught on court surveillance cameras, but that video has not been released.

A previous report from Cleveland.com reporter Cory Schaffer details (somewhat) the incident:

The sheriff’s department placed Comerford, a 14-year veteran, on paid administrative leave the day of the April 5 incident, Cuyahoga County spokeswoman Mary Louise Madigan said.

Comerford was leading the handcuffed 17-year-old boy from a courtroom in the juvenile justice center back to a detention cell after a hearing when the incident occurred, Madigan said.

The incident was captured on surveillance cameras, but the county refused to release the video when asked in April, citing an exemption in Ohio public records law that covers “security infrastructure.”

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The internal investigation was conducted by the Ohio state Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), who then forwarded the findings of that investigation to the county prosecutor’s office.

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office subsequently (and not surprisingly) then concluded that there was not enough evidence to sustain criminal charges against Deputy Comerford. Because, apparently, a video of a cop hitting a teenager just isn’t enough evidence. Even when that teenager is handcuffed at the time.

I wonder why they don’t want to release that video…

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Indiana Police Shoot Family Dog Then Celebrate by High-Fiving While Laughing

Last week, while investigating a fight, a police officer in Elkhart, Indiana shot a family’s dog after claiming that it charged at him. Fortunately, only one of the three bullets the unnamed officer fired struck the dog and he survived, but sustained what was described as two “large wounds.”

Meanwhile, Gisselle Soto maintains that her dog, Churro, never charged at the officer and that he is a friendly and well-behaved pet. She also states that she and her husband were just walking their dog when police asked them about the fight which had already broken up prior to their arrival. According to Soto, Churro had barked at the officer, but never tried to attack or even approach him.

Even more disturbing is the claim by Gisselle and her husband, Ricardo Soto, that after shooting their dog, the police officers present made light of it. In fact, they charge that the officers even celebrated the shooting by “high-fiving” each other and laughed about it afterwards, while making comments about how it was “just a dog.”

Via the Elkhart Truth:

An Elkhart woman says police had no reason to shoot her dog on Friday evening, saying officers were laughing and high-fiving each other after the incident, which left her dog with two large wounds, but luckily still alive.

Ricardo Soto Police Bullet Ricochet

Injury from bullet ricochet.

Gisselle Soto, the owner of Churro, a 4-year-old pit bull/boxer mix, said her dog was only barking and never lunged at the officer before he pulled out his gun and fired three times at the dog. Only one of the bullets hit Churro, going through his neck and exiting out his chest, and a veterinarian at a local animal hospital said Churro was very lucky, according to Soto.

Her account directly contradicts what police said Friday night. The officer was walking back to his patrol car after conducting an investigation into the fight when the dog charged at him, said police spokesman Sgt. Chris Snyder. The dog jumped on the officer, which led him to draw his gun and shoot at the dog.

In addition, the couple say that the area where the shooting had other neighbors nearby, including children playing outside. Obviously, this placed those people into danger from errant shots. In fact, Ricardo was himself grazed by a bullet intended for Churro that ricocheted off the pavement.

Cathy Pepper, the Soto’s neighbor, supports their statements that Churro would never attack anyone and is not aggressive toward people, while also criticizing the behavior of police .

“Churro is always very friendly,” she said. “The police come and they harrass us down here, they speed, it just isn’t right.”

Ricardo Soto Police Dog Shooting ChurroAccording to Sgt. Chris Snyder, the police spokesperson, an “investigation” is under way and as soon as those top notch investigators get to the bottom of it, “the department will deal with that,” if it is determined to be true. Of course, absent a video, which is not mentioned in the reporting on this, the word of those cops who shot their dog and then celebrated their deed will be what they base their “investigation” on. (In other words, don’t hold your breath.)

Meanwhile, this is the third time police in Elkhart, a suburb of Gary, have shot someone’s dog in less than nine months. That includes an incident in October where an officer shot a dog, that was inside its own yard, at least ten times. Similarly, that officer claimed the dog had charged at him. However, witnesses to the shooting stated that the dog was actually running away from him in the other direction, at the time.

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Newly Released Video Shows Baltimore Police Lied About 2013 Shooting

A video that was just released as part of a lawsuit by a man the Baltimore Police shot in January 2013 contradicts the claims the officers involved made to justify that shooting. In their official report, those officers claimed that Shaun Mouzon tried to run them over with his car and that they were forced to shoot him in self defense.

Instead the video shows that Mouzon was stopped in traffic with cars in front of him when they pulled up behind him. Contrary to their statements, they were never in front of his car and it never moved until after he was shot. In addition, the police report claimed that they saw a gun in his waistband and Mouzon was charged with possession of a handgun, even  though no handgun was ever found on him or in his vehicle.

Via wbaltv.com:

(Baltimore attorney A. Dwight) Pettit gave 11 News access to the surveillance video of what happened when police stopped his client, Shaun Mouzon, on Jan. 28, 2013, in southwest Baltimore.

Pettit is suing five Baltimore City police officers, former Commissioners Anthony Batts and Fred Bealefeld, and the mayor and City Council for violating Mouzon’s rights, illegal seizure, assault and battery.

“You have not only the horror of the shooting and attempted murder, but then you have the horror of a fabrication of police reports to cover themselves,” Pettit said.

Officer Fabien Laronde wrote the report. He has been the subject of numerous 11 News I-Team investigations and misconduct complaints filed by residents. The city has settled some lawsuits against Laronde for more than $175,000.

This month, 20 defense attorneys asked the Police Department for Laronde’s Internal Affairs records, questioning his credibility.

“They knew at least one of these officers had a history as a bad actor and nothing was ever done against him,” Pettit said.

Laronde’s report said he observed what he believed to be the handle of a handgun in Mouzon’s waistband. Mouzon noticed the police presence and got into his car. The video shows Mouzon turn onto Edmonson Avenue and get stopped in traffic.

Laronde’s report said “Mr. Mouzon let off the brakes and began to accelerate towards the officers in front of the vehicle. At this time, a police-involved shooting occurred.”

“His car is stationary, blocked in traffic, it’s not moving. The officers walk up into the rear and to the side, and then you see the muzzle flashes, you see the officers open fire,” Pettit said.

The officers shot Mouzon 14 times in the head, chest and groin, according to his attorneys. The video shows him trying to navigate his vehicle away afterward before crashing. The police report said he fled the scene.

Mouzon was charged with several traffic violations and possession of a handgun. Pettit said his client was searched and no weapon was found on him or in his car. Eventually, the charges were dropped.

Pettit has filed the case in federal court.

As mentioned in the quote, Officer Fabien Laronde, who wrote the report, has a long history of abuse and misconduct during his illustrious career with the Baltimore City Police Department. Currently, he’s on (paid) leave after a incident in which a 7-11 called to report an armed man causing a disturbance in the store. That armed man turned out to be Officer Laronde. He’s also been banned from the Baltimore Municipal Courthouse after he was caught filming a witness with his cellphone during a trial.

And that’s not even the half of it:

It’s not the first time the city Police Department has investigated complaints about Laronde. He has been with the department for 14 years. His paper trail stretches from City Hall to the federal court to the city’s Circuit Court. City taxpayers have paid out money to settle lawsuits against Laronde more than once.

In July 2006, Laronde testified in a federal court hearing that he had been accused of planting evidence and had, at that time, pending complaints of use of excessive force. The outcome of the complaints is not known.

In July 2009, a man claimed he was strip-searched by Laronde at a shopping center parking lot and released without any charges. A lawsuit the man filed was dismissed because of confusion over the incident’s date.

In June 2011, a man claimed Laronde stole $770 from him after an arrest for marijuana possession, a charge that was later dismissed. The case settled out of court for an unknown amount.

In April 2012, the city paid a man and woman $155,000 to settle their lawsuit against Laronde and two other officers. The man claimed he was strip-searched. Both claimed they were assaulted on the street.

Most recently, the city paid $20,000 to a man who claimed Laronde and another officer unlawfully detained him inside the Baltimore City Circuit Court. The man was employee of the court clerk.

Not surprisingly, the BPD is refusing to release details about the 7-11 incident except to say that they are not conducting a criminal investigation into his actions. Based on their past history of “investigating” Laronde, I wouldn’t hold my breath expecting results from this latest internal investigation, either.

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Five Year Old Finds North Carolina SBI Agent’s Gun in Public Bathroom

In what apparently is becoming a bit of a trend for Law Enforcement Officers, an unnamed North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation agent left her gun inside the public bathroom of a restaurant. (As the name implies, the SBI is a state based version of the FBI, although not all states use that name.) After being misplaced by the unnamed agent, it was found by a five year old girl, who subsequently used the bathroom.

An earlier post on CopBlock.org by detailed how Capitol police in Washington DC had been ordered to undergo additional training after three separate incidents in which they left firearms in public bathrooms between January and April of this year.

Fortunately for the child and likely for the other people in the Mexicasa Restaurant & Grill in Harrisburg as well, her parents had already begun teaching her gun safety. So she knew not to mess with the gun and promptly told her parents about it. They in turn reported it to restaurant staff. Officers from the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office were there investigating the incident when the gun’s owner returned looking for it.

According to WNCN.com:

[The father] said his family was eating at the Mexicasa Restaurant & Grill in Harrisburg Saturday night when the little girl went into the restroom. She came back out and told her mom that there was a gun in the restroom stall.

The mother saw the gun and the family notified the restaurant staff. The staff then got the gun and called the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office.

Eddie Eagle Gun SafetyAccording to the sheriff’s office, deputies arrived on scene a few minutes later and a female agent had already come back to the restaurant to get her firearm. Officials believe the agent got to her vehicle, noticed the missing firearm and came back inside.

According to a spokesperson from the SBI, the agency is aware of the incident and is conducting an internal investigation.

One official told WBTV the young girl was “clearly trained well” to tell her parents as soon as she saw the firearm.

Jennifer Sarris always goes with her 5-year-old daughter when she goes to the bathroom, just in case she needs something.

“I just knew by the panic in her voice, something was wrong,” Jennifer Sarris said.

The mother told WBTV her family openly talks with their three children about gun safety.

“We make them understand, bad things can happen when you play with it like a toy, because it’s not a toy,” Jennifer Sarris said.

Fortunately for the SBI agent, she had her shiny badge with her, which rendered her impervious to the sort of accountability mere mortals are subjected to:

The 5-year-old’s father, Jody said after the waiter removed the gun, a woman returned for the gun.

“I noticed she walked straight in the bathroom with a look on her face, like a panic look, and it was even more so when she walked out realizing it was gone,” Jody Sarris recalled.

Jody Sarris said the woman showed a badge and walked out with the firearm.

An SBI spokesperson assured everyone that the agency has some of her friends “investigating” her and that they will be deciding which wrist to slap in the very near future. However, the father of the grade-schooler, who very easily could have payed dearly for the agent’s careless mistake, wasn’t very satisfied with the fact that she was able to just retrieve the gun and walk out without being arrested like a typical person would or even so much as being given a stern talking to, apparently.

Cop Gun SafetySarris believes law enforcement should be held to a higher standard.

“I know we’re all human, we all make mistakes. That’s a pretty big mistake for my 5-year-old little girl to find a gun in the bathroom,” Jody Sarris said.

The SBI spokesperson could not say if the agent was on leave, or if the gun was loaded.

All are questions the Sarris family wants answered.

“To me it is a big deal, because it could have took my child’s life, it could have took someone else’s life if her or someone else had found it and been curious,” Jennifer Sarris said.

Thankfully, there was a five-year-old there to ensure nobody got hurt as a result of this agent’s reckless disregard for firearm safety. If one of those Capitol Police had come in next instead, who knows what might have happened or how many people could have potentially been shot.

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