N. Idaho attorney challenging use of drug dog in arrest

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The attorney is trying to fight a drug bust arrest that stemmed from a traffic stop. (File Photo) 
A northern Idaho defense attorney says using a drug dog at a traffic stop is overreaching and illegal.

Attorney Joanna McFarland argued Thursday that her client should have been released after Lewiston police officers cleared him of driving under the influence last summer, the Lewiston Tribune reported. Courts records state that 43-year-old Michael Parkins was driving erratically.

McFarland says that police instead detained Parkins while waiting for a drug dog to pursue another investigation despite having no reasonable suspicion that her client had any controlled substances on him.

“A drug dog sniff rises to a different level,” McFarland said. “If he was speeding, there’s no justification for a drug dog.”

According to police, a drug dog alerted officers to possible drugs inside the car around midnight on June 13, 2015. Police say they found $1,000 in cash as well as two ounces of methamphetamine in a nylon bag stuffed down Parkins’ pants a bulge which officers say Parkins attributed to gonorrhea.

Second District Judge Jay P. Gaskill is currently taking the motion under consideration. The state has not filed a counter motion to McFarland’s argument.

“That traffic infraction they stopped him for was complete,” McFarland said. “There was absolutely no additional independent observation to justify using a drug dog to start an additional investigation.”

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Ex-detective indicted in purported drug conspiracy

DIXON – The former Rock Falls detective accused of stealing money from an evidence vault now is entangled with at least three others in a purported 2-year, 2-county drug conspiracy.

Veronica Jaramillo, 43, of Sterling, Jody Canas, 44, of Sterling, Lynn Robinett, 45, of Dixon, and Rickey Richardson, 52, of Harmon, all have been indicted, the Illinois Attorney General’s office, which is prosecuting the case, said Friday.

Eileen Boyce, a spokeswoman for the office, said information on the charges against Jaramillo, Robinett and Richardson, and other details, would be released Monday.

But court records for Canas, made available Friday, show that Canas, whose live-in girlfriend is Jaramillo’s sister, Violeta “Violet” Jaramillo, 46, has been indicted by a state grand jury on charges of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver (more than 15 grams but less than 100 grams of cocaine), and delivery of a controlled substance (more than 15 grams but less than 100 grams of cocaine), each punishable by 6 to 30 years in prison.

Canas also is charged with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance (more than 5 grams but less than 15 grams of cocaine), each punishable by 4 to 15 years; possession of marijuana with intent to deliver (more than 500 grams but less than 2,000 grams), punishable by 3 to 7 years; and conspiracy (possession of marijuana with intent to deliver; more than 500 grams but less than 2,000 grams), punishable by 2 to 5 years.

He is being held at the Lee County Jail on $200,000 bond. His attorney, Allison B. Fagerman, is seeking a bond reduction; a hearing is scheduled for July 11.

If Canas bonds out, he must not have any contact with the co-defendants above, with Violet Jaramillo, or with Kathy Green, Roderick Coy, Oscar Canas, Austin Wheeler, Brandon Carter, Benjamin Franque, and Courtney Fritz (Carter), all also described as co-defendants, court records show.

Canas was indicted on June 10. Assistant Attorney General John Kezdy is prosecuting.

On May 17, members of a local drug task force seized drugs, three cars, and $17,248 in cash from his and Violeta Jaramillo’s home, court records show.

That same day, then-Detective Sgt. Veronica Jaramillo was arrested and charged with theft and official misconduct, both felonies, for stealing $1,741 from the Rock Falls Police Department’s evidence vault, according to Whiteside County Court records.

The State Police Blackhawk Area Task Force is investigating, and based much of its findings on monitored phone conversations and other surveillance.

Violeta Jaramillo and Canas are accused in court documents of selling cocaine and marijuana, and of using the proceeds to buy cars, real estate, drugs and The Grapevine Wine and Martini Bar, which she owns at 205 W. Second St. in Rock Falls.

Police confiscated more than 2 pounds of marijuana, worth more than $20,000, and 2 ounces of cocaine from their home on Timber Drive, which she also owns. The three vehicles seized were a black 2014 Corvette Stingray convertible, a black 2006 Chevrolet Impala, and a white 1991 Pontiac Firebird.

In May 2012, Richardson was sentenced to 4 years for aggravated battery of a peace officer, Lee County Court records show. Misdemeanor drug paraphernalia chrges were dismissed.

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Baltimore Officer Acquitted on All Charges in Death of Freddie Gray

A Baltimore judge acquitted Officer Caesar Goodson on all counts Thursday in the death of Freddie Gray, who death in police custody last year sparked days of riots throughout the city.

Goodson, who drove the van that transported Gray after his arrest, faced the most serious charges of the six officers involved in his death last April. He was found not guilty on all seven counts, including second-degree depraved-heart murder, second-degree assault, misconduct in office and involuntary manslaughter. The depraved-heart murder charge carried a possible 30-year sentence.

In the trial, prosecutors argued that Goodson, as the van’s driver, intentionally tried to injure Gray as he drove him around Baltimore without a seat belt and gave what they said was a “rough ride.” They also said Goodson was aware that Gray was injured but he failed to provide aid or seek medical care for him.

Goodson’s defense said that Gray had actually injured himself in the back of the van and questioned the prosecution’s timeline of when Gray was injured.

Goodson, a 16-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department, was the third of six officers to stand trial in Gray’s death. Officer William Porter’s trial ended in a hung jury and Edward Nero was found not guilty.

In preparation for the verdict, city officials put the Maryland National Guard on notice for potential violence. Last April, Baltimore experienced riots the like of which had not been seen in the city in half-a-century after Gray, a black Baltimore resident, died in policy custody a week after his arrest. Protesters set fire to businesses and looted drug stores, leading to the national guard coming in to restore order. More than 200 people were arrested. In May, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced sweeping criminal charges against six officers involved in Gray’s death, a move celebrated by Baltimore’s minority communities.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who was criticized for her handling of the riots last year and decided against running for re-election, released a statement saying: “We once again ask the citizens to be patient and to allow the entire process to come to a conclusion.”

Protesters gathered outside the courtroom Thursday, holding signs saying “They killin’ us alive legally” and “Justice 4 Freddie Gray!”

“This is a disappointing verdict,” said DeRay McKesson, a Black Lives Matter activist who ran unsuccessfully for mayor this year, according to the Baltimore Sun. “I look forward to the remaining trials. The verdict today is a reminder that the current laws, policies and practices protect police behavior at all costs.

The next trial, involving Lt. Brian Rice, will begin July 5. Rice, one of the officers who arrested Gray, faces charges including manslaughter and second-degree assault.

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Sheriff’s sergeant charged in child porn case dies in hospital after shooting self on release from jail

A veteran Broward sheriff’s sergeant has died after shooting himself Wednesday evening, less than eight hours after bonding out of jail where he had spent six nights held on 29 charges related to child pornography and illicit sex.

Sgt. Kreg Costa, 43, was taken to Broward Health Medical Center with a “self-inflicted gunshot wound,” said Veda Coleman-Wright, a spokeswoman for the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Scott Israel confirmed the shooting at 7:15 p.m. “It did happen,” he said. He declined to say more. The shooting occurred at Costa’s home in the 9100 block of Sunset Strip in Sunrise.

He died at 11:27 p.m., sheriff’s officials said.

“His wife and children need our prayers and support,” Coleman-Wright said.

Costa’s lawyer, Jamie Benjamin, received the news of Costa’s shooting while out of state.

“Our client is a loving father of five, he never stopped loving his children,” Benjamin said. “Apparently the pressure of facing these charges troubled him much more than we all realized.”

Costa posted $250,000 bond and was released at 10:57 a.m. records show. Conditions of his release forbade him from spending time alone with his five children, ages 3 to 12.

Benjamin’s law partner, Dan Aaronson, went to the hospital Wednesday evening to comfort Costa’s wife, Christina, where a contingent of Costa’s sheriff’s office colleagues had gathered.

“She’s just too distraught right now to make any kind of statement,” Benjamin said. “Our hearts go out to Kreg, Christina and their family.”

Sunrise police got a 911 call about 5:30 p.m. Costa was found outside, on the side of the house. There were no witnesses and nobody was home with him when he shot himself, Officer Chris Piper said.

Sheriff’s officials listened to the 911 recording and confirmed that the caller’s voice was that of Costa, Piper said.

“I don’t have words to explain how I feel about this situation,” Costa’s neighbor Linda Martin said. “I feel shocked, I feel bad. It hurts to hear something like that from your neighbor and from someone who is supposed to be there to protect us.”

Bondsman Dave Collins, of American Surety Co., helped arrange Costa’s bond. They spoke by telephone Wednesday afternoon after Costa’s release.

“I would say he was in shock,” Collins said. “He wasn’t speaking, he was trance-like.”

Costa had promised to call Collins at 9 a.m. Thursday, Collins said. “I never got to see him,” Collins said.

Costa was arrested June 9 after hidden cameras planted in his Weston office showed he spent three to four hours per midnight shift perusing online child porn featuring underage girls, incest, bondage and domination and having cybersex chats with a California teen, authorities announced last week.

All 29 charges stem from Costa’s online exchanges with a 16-year-old California girl, identified online as “Babygirl.” She was 15, and told Costa so, when they began communicating last August. Over eight months, Costa engaged in sexually charged conversations with her and coaxed her into supplying him with a steady stream of sexually explicit photos and videos of herself, a two-month investigation revealed.

At a news conference last week, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel denounced the road patrol supervisor’s alleged actions as “disgusting.”

“These charges are deeply disturbing. These allegations, if true, are reprehensible,” Israel said. “We’re not going to stand for this type of behavior. It was illegal, it was immoral, and it tarnished the badge.”

Costa has worked for the Broward Sheriff’s Office since April 1999. He was suspended without pay immediately after his arrest. Personnel records list Costa’s salary last year at $146,000, including more than $10,000 in overtime.

“Every citizen accused is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, even a law enforcement officer,” Benjamin said in a statement last week.

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Broward sheriff’s sergeant with ‘Daddy’ fetish arrested on child porn, illicit sex charges

A veteran Broward sheriff’s sergeant with a predilection for being addressed as “Daddy” spent three to four hours per midnight shift not on road patrol, but in his Weston office perusing online pornography featuring underage girls, incest, bondage and domination and having cybersex chats with a California teen, authorities announced Thursday.

Sgt. Kreg Costa, 43, of Sunrise, was arrested Thursday morning on 29 counts of child pornography, illicit sexual conduct and lewd or lascivious battery and was booked into the Broward Main Jail at 9:20 a.m., records show.

All the charges stem from Costa’s online activity with a 16-year-old California girl, identified online as “Babygirl.” She was 15, and told Costa so, when they began communicating last August. Over eight months, Costa engaged in sexually charged conversations with her and coaxed her into supplying him with a steady stream of sexually explicit photos and videos of herself, a two-month investigation revealed.

Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, at a news conference Thursday, denounced the road patrol supervisor’s alleged actions as “disgusting.”

“These charges are deeply disturbing. These allegations, if true, are reprehensible,” Israel said. “We’re not going to stand for this type of behavior. It was illegal, it was immoral, and it tarnished the badge.”

The investigation is ongoing and detectives think there could be more victims.

“Every citizen accused is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, even a law enforcement officer,” Costa’s lawyer, Jamie Benjamin, said in a statement. “We will diligently investigate and defend against these serious charges. Based on our investigation, we believe our client will be exonerated of all charges.”

According to an arrest affidavit, the investigation was triggered by Costa’s odd on-duty behavior.

“Staff noticed that Sgt. Costa had been acting strangely in the late-night hours during his shift,” the affidavit said. “He was reportedly not leaving the office and remaining in the patrol sergeant’s office with the lights off with both his uniform and gun belt removed. After being counseled several times by his superiors, he continued the behavior.”

Investigators next installed hidden cameras in Costa’s office to monitor his activities. The surveillance confirmed that while at work, “Costa was viewing hardcore pornography” and recorded him taking photos of his penis with his cellphone camera, documents show.

Investigators also found a “semen-splashed” photocopy of a picture of a young blond girl. Evidence indicated Costa had masturbated on the picture while in a restroom at the Weston station, the affidavit said.

Costa used the alias Steven Jones to set up several social media accounts. Using “callmesir34” as his online handle, Costa was especially active on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and email, the investigation revealed.

In past assignments, Costa worked with the task force that battles online exploitation of children. He was once CEO of Sawgrass Youth Sports Sunrise, a youth football and cheerleading organization, records show.

The investigation also revealed that Costa, using the @CallMeSir34 handle on Twitter, followed two local high school cheerleaders — one a 17-year-old junior, the other an 18-year-old senior — who knew him from the program. The girls did not realize Costa was behind the handle and were distressed when investigators told them, the affidavit said.

Surveillance of Costa’s online chats with “Babygirl” showed he regularly cajoled her into sending nude images and videos of herself performing sexual acts, and promised to return the favor with “a special pic” of Daddy.

“This investigation showed that Sgt. Costa utilized his training and experience working with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to seek and lure in a child, who was a 4.0 grade-point-average high school student from a churchgoing family, and manipulate and groom her for his sexual gratification,” the affidavit said.

The affidavit also included excerpts of exchanges between the sergeant and teen:

Q: What’s Babygirl doing tonight?

A: Nothing daddy

Q: Daddy needs a pic…

“This investigation into Sgt. Costa’s fetishes showed he is infatuated with incest and his relationship with [the girl] was his way to pretend he was in an incestuous daddy/daughter relationship,” the affidavit said.

On June 2, investigators traveled to California to meet with the girl and her parents.

In a sworn statement, the girl confirmed her email address and the Twitter accounts she used to communicate with Costa, starting when she was 15. She said knew Costa was in his 40s, lived and worked in Florida and was married with children. She did not know he was a law enforcement officer, the affidavit said.

She tearfully told detectives “she was uncomfortable with the things [Costa] would ask her to do and she did not know why she agreed to do them.” She said she “thought it was helping her be more confident” but concluded that it did not, the affidavit said.

When she revealed to Costa that she was “really insecure,” he told her that “no matter what, she was beautiful” and when she twice tried to cut off their communications, Costa reeled her back by saying, “God forgives,” the affidavit said.

Costa has worked for the Broward Sheriff’s Office since April 1999. He was advised April 24 that he was under criminal investigation and suspended with pay. He was arrested Thursday morning when he showed up for a training class at the sheriff’s headquarters on Broward Boulevard. His suspension was immediately converted to unpaid.

Personnel records list Costa’s salary last year at $146,000, including more than $10,000 in overtime.

Costa is scheduled to appear before Broward Circuit Judge Michael Davis Friday morning.

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FBI: Lynch, Kentucky Chief of Police Arrested on Drug and Weapon Charges

Last Friday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Kentucky State Police (KSP) arrested Lynch, Kentucky Chief of Police Jackie Keith Stewart following a federal indictment on conspiracy to distribute cocaine, cocaine base, methamphetamine, and suboxone; conspiracy to distribute cocaine; and sale of a firearm to a known convicted felon. Also arrested and indicted on the same charges was Rettie D Morris, the girlfriend of Stewart. Last July, the FBI and the United States Attorney’s Offices for both districts of Kentucky, identified corruption as the number one criminal threat in Kentucky. The FBI pledged to root out corruption at all levels and begin the long process of cleaning up Kentucky.

As evidenced today, as well as in March and June of this year with other corruption arrests, we are seeing the fruits of our labor. No matter what position is held or what title is carried—whether the town dog catcher or those in the highest levels of government—we will find corrupt Kentucky officials and hold them accountable. Today is another step in our effort to clean up Kentucky.

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2 Detroit cops go on trial in drug conspiracy case

Defense attorneys for two Detroit police officers on trial for extortion told a federal jury Wednesday the four-year long case — which uses dozens of drug dealers-turned-informants as witnesses — will come down to one question: whom do they believe?

“Every single witness you’ll see has asked, ‘What’s in it for me?’” attorney Steve Fishman told jurors seated in the case of narcotics officers David Hansberry and Bryan Watson.

“We already know they are bad. They carry guns and are dope dealers. The key for this case is are they liars?” Fishman said.

Hansberry and Watson were indicted in April 2015 by a federal grand jury in Detroit on charges of carrying out traffic stops and fake arrests to steal drugs, money and property. Also indicted in the case is Kevlin “Omar” Brown, a longtime friend of Hansberry.

If convicted, they face up to 20 years in federal prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheldon N. Light told jurors in his opening statement that the case before them was about the power society gives the police to combat crime.

Hansberry, who led a narcotics crew at the department, and Watson, his assistant, used that power plus authority and fear to take money from drug dealers, steal drugs during investigations and create fake search warrants and fake drug busts, Light said.

“Money that should have been given to the state went into their pockets. Drugs that should have been taken off the streets went back into the neighborhoods, and criminals that should have been locked up were free” because of both men’s actions, Light said.

Prosecutors are using nine incidents in the case to show how the extortion and conspiracy worked. On Wednesday morning, jurors saw a timeline with nine examples across the city from 2010-13 in which Hansberry and Watson allegedly used a scheme, called a “rip,” to take money and drugs. Brown was involved in one of the cases.

Light said there were two kinds of schemes: one was a simple approach where both officers skimmed money off the top of a legitimate drug raid or took drugs from the crime scene, later to be resold by drug dealers, with some of the proceeds returned to them.

Then there were more complex schemes where fake transactions were set up by Hansberry and Watson. After a victim was scared away by police cars and lights, the officers would take the drugs and the cash brought to the transaction.

In one case, Detroit police found $3.3 million in a drug raid on July 26, 2010, Light said, but only $2.2 million was logged into seizure records at the station.

“It was not enforcing the law and punishing offenders. It was using their power to get what they wanted,” Light said.

Jurors heard a tape recording made by a witness in the case, Gary Jackson. It was Hansberry speaking to Jackson about the scheme being used.

“No doubt in my mind you can be a millionaire doing this,” Hansberry is heard saying to Jackson.

On another recording, Hansberry appears to be reluctant to set up a new “rip” with a Detroit police officer who was then working with federal authorities to take down the operation.

“Is is a sting or not? That’s really the only question,” Hansberry is heard saying. “Is it worth the risk … Is someone gonna speak? That’s the real question. That’s the only question.”

Hansberry, a 16-year veteran, and Watson, who spent 22 years on the police force, were suspended without pay after the indictments were filed last year.

Federal prosecutors said in November they were concerned about the safety of witnesses in the case, and had to relocate them to protect them, according to court transcripts obtained by The News. One witness was shot while driving in Metro Detroit, prosecutors said.

The allegations against the two cops came as Detroit Police were conducting an internal investigation into widespread wrongdoing in the Narcotics Section, which prompted Police Chief James Craig to disband the unit.

Craig also instituted a policy that bars officers from automatically staying more than five years in specialized units like narcotics, because he said it opens the door for complacency and corruption. If an officer wants to remain in such a unit, he or she must request it.

The federal case also prompted policy changes in the way police use informants. Among the changes is a stricter policy on whom officers can use as an informant. Officers also must now get permission to use someone as an informant.

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$550,000 settlement reached in ex-marshal’s civil lawsuit against Sheriff’s Office

The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office has agreed to pay $550,000 to settle an excessive force and wrongful arrest lawsuit filed by a retired deputy U.S. marshal against the agency and three deputies.

The settlement was reached just one week after a federal judge ruled jurors could decide whether Sheriff Ric Bradshaw created an atmosphere that encourages his deputies to use excessive force. The trial was scheduled to start Monday.

Shawn Conboy, the former federal law enforcement officer, agreed to settle his civil rights lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Office and three deputies for the $550,000, which will be paid by the agency, Conboy’s lawyer Stuart N. Kaplan said Tuesday.

Conboy, 56, of Parkland, filed a civil lawsuit against the agency and deputies Seth Perrin, Ronald Cercy and Robert Stephan last year, alleging they slammed him onto a car and shot him twice with a stun gun after he stopped to try to help the victims of a fatal car crash in 2013 in suburban Boca Raton.

“Unfortunately, the deputies escalated an encounter with a retired U.S. marshal, who had stopped as a good Samaritan to render aid to the victims of a traffic incident, into something that should never have occurred,” Kaplan said.

The Sheriff’s Office did not respond to emails and phone messages seeking comment on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks ruled last week that Conboy’s legal team could argue to the jury that Bradshaw should be held liable, in his official capacity as sheriff, for failing to properly train deputies and not disciplining deputies who used excessive force.

That decision, which Kaplan said was the first of its kind in Palm Beach County, upped the stakes in the trial, which was scheduled to begin Monday in federal court in West Palm Beach.

The ruling meant that, if the jury agreed with Conboy, there would have been no limit on what taxpayers could have been forced to pay out.

Kaplan, a former FBI agent, said he and his partners investigated the case thoroughly and determined that the deputies’ account of what happened did not add up.

The deputies argued that Conboy became belligerent and they reacted appropriately to subdue him.

Conboy said he was injured by deputies after he asked them to return his driver license and let him leave. Conboy and a female companion said they were left standing at the intersection of Palmetto Park and Toledo roads for a long time because the deputies did not promptly take their witness statements, they said.

Conboy argued he was injured during the incident, was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and lost his job as a security manager with Florida Power & Light. The deputies arrested him on allegations including battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence, attempting to deprive an officer of protection or communication, corruption by threat against a public official and disorderly intoxication. The Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office declined to file formal charges.

While Kaplan said most law enforcement officers behave appropriately when making split-second judgments, he said there have been a number of civil cases involving the agency recently that bolstered Conboy’s position.

“Unfortunately, the culture has been slow to try to change it and weed out the very small percentage of people who should not be in law enforcement,” he said.

In a number of recent lawsuits against the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, judges allowed claims of excessive force against individual deputies to go to trial but rejected arguments that Bradshaw and agency policy might be to blame.

Those decisions limited the damages to $200,000, the most that a government agency can be forced to pay unless the Florida Legislature votes to approve a bigger payout. The state Legislature has been very reluctant to do so.

Earlier this year, a federal jury in Fort Lauderdale found that Palm Beach sheriff’s deputy Adams Lin violated Dontrell Stephens’ constitutional rights and used excessive force when he shot the 22-year-old West Palm Beach man, inflicting injuries that left him paralyzed.

Lin and the agency were found liable to the tune of $22.4 million but Stephens and his lawyers will have to battle to try to collect more than $200,000.

Middlebrooks wrote in his ruling that Conboy provided enough examples and evidence for the jurors in his case to consider whether Bradshaw’s actions created an atmosphere that tolerated the use of excessive force.

Conboy alleged that the agency “maintained a custom of excessive force in executing arrests by its sworn law enforcement officers” and its “refusal to adequately train its deputies on how to interact with non-threatening eyewitnesses — and PBSO’s failure to supervise those deputies — has resulted in the infliction of excessive violence upon non-threatening eyewitnesses and the violation of their constitutional rights.”

Conboy argued there were at least six instances of excessive force, between 2008 and 2013, involving the use of a stun gun in connection with arrests that were not properly investigated. He also argued there were at least two cases in 2013 that involved deputies punching or striking a person during an arrest.

The judge wrote: “Conboy pleads more than just these similar instances, his claims are bolstered by his allegations that ‘a review of the internal affair[s] investigations of these incidents shows a conscious disregard to the facts and circumstances surrounding each incident and a blanket justification of the actions of the deputies involved.’”

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Corey Jones police shooting: Ex-officer Nouman Raja faces manslaughter, attempted murder charges

Calling for help didn’t save stranded motorist Corey Jones from the bullets later fired by a plainclothes police officer who stopped to investigate the parked SUV.

But now the recording of Jones’ call to roadside assistance — and the sounds of the shooting that it captured — could help convict former Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja for what a grand jury Wednesday determined was an “unjustified” shooting.

Raja was arrested Wednesday on charges of manslaughter and attempted murder.

The cellphone call recording reveals that Raja — who wasn’t wearing a uniform or a badge — didn’t identify himself as a police officer when on Oct. 18 he approached Jones’ vehicle along I-95 and soon after opened fire, according to the State Attorney’s Office findings released Wednesday.

The recording also shows that Raja fired three shots, waited 10 seconds, and then fired three more times, with at least one of those shots fired as Jones ran away, according to the State Attorney’s Office report.

Jones’ death drew a swift public outcry, sparking rallies and protests that at times drew hundreds of demonstrators. The killing happened during a national uproar over use of force by police, from Ferguson, Mo., to Baltimore, involving young black men.

Attorneys for Jones’ family maintained that Jones likely didn’t know that Raja was a police officer. And in a report released Wednesday, prosecutors echoed how Raja’s lack of police identification was “grossly negligent.”

“Raja chose to approach Corey Jones’ vehicle in a tactically unsound, unsafe and grossly negligent manner,” according to the prosecutors’ report. “Raja was driving an unmarked white cargo van, which no reasonable person would assume was a police vehicle. … A reasonable person can only assume the thoughts and concerns Corey Jones was experiencing as he saw the van approaching him at that hour of the morning.”

After the grand jury completed its review Wednesday, State Attorney Dave Aronberg announced that his office charged Raja with one count of manslaughter by culpable negligence, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison; and one count of attempted first-degree murder with a firearm, a felony punishable by up to life in prison.

The Jones family on Wednesday issued a statement saying they are relieved that Raja will face charges and that their goal now is “to ensure that this never happens to another innocent citizen.”

“While we understand that nothing can bring back our son, brother and friend, this arrest sends a message that this conduct will not be tolerated from members of law enforcement,” the family statement said.

Jones, a Delray Beach housing inspector and a church drummer from Boynton Beach, was waiting with his broken-down SUV along Interstate 95 near PGA Boulevard when he was shot and killed by Raja.

Jones was driving home from a gig that night and had become stranded.

He at 1:44 a.m. called the Florida Highway Patrol from his cellphone to request roadside assistance, according to the state attorney’s report. A road ranger and one of Jones’ bandmates arrived to try to help start the car, but couldn’t get it going.

They both left by 2:45 a.m., but Jones stayed because he didn’t want to leave his drum equipment unattended for fear it might get stolen, the report said.

Raja, 38, stopped about 3:15 a.m. to investigate Jones’ potentially abandoned car, according to police.

Jones was on his cellphone with a roadside assistance operator when Raja approached and their initial interaction was recorded, according to the State Attorney’s Office findings.

According to the transcript of the call, Jones is first heard saying, “Huh?”

“You good?” Raja asked.

“I’m good,” Jones said.

“Really?” Raja responded.

“Yeah; I’m good,” Jones said.

“Really?” Raja replied.

“Yeah,” Jones said.

“Get your f—— hands up! Get your f—— hands up!” Raja said.

“Hold on!” Jones said.

“Get your f—— hands up! Drop!” Raja said.

After saying, “drop,” Raja fired three gunshots within two seconds, according to the report.

After about 10 seconds, Raja fired three more shots — this time “more deliberately” with one shot every three seconds, the report said.

“Oh my gosh!” the operator can be heard saying on the recording after the first round of shots. And then, “There’s gunshots,” after the second volley, the report said.

Raja did not identify himself during the shooting, according to the recording, and “there is no question that Jones ran away from Raja,” according to a probable cause affidavit.

Police say that as Raja approached, Jones had a gun that he was licensed to carry. The State Attorney’s Office findings determined that Raja kept shooting, even after Jones no longer held his weapon.

“There is sufficient evidence and probable cause to conclude Nouman Raja continued to discharge his firearm at Corey Jones after Raja realized Jones no longer possessed a firearm. The intent of discharging his firearm was to kill Corey Jones,” according to the state attorney’s findings.

Raja didn’t know Jones was on the phone with a roadside assistance operator when he approached the vehicle, according to the report.

About 33 seconds after Raja fired his final shot, he called 911 using his personal cellphone. As the call connected, Raja is heard yelling: “Drop that f—— gun right now!” the report said.

Raja gave his location to the operator and said he shot someone who “had a silver handgun in his right hand,” the report said.

“I came out, I saw him come out with a handgun. I gave him commands. I identified myself and he turned, pointed the gun at me, and started running. I shot him,” Raja told the 911 operator, according to the report.

Raja used his personally-owned Glock .40-caliber pistol when he fired at Jones because his police-issued gun was still in its holster inside the unmarked police van he was driving, the State Attorney report said.

Raja fired six shots, hitting Jones three times, according to the State Attorney’s Office.

Three of the six shots Raja fired hit Jones.

One entered Jones’ left arm near the elbow and another struck Jones in the back of his upper right arm, neither of which would have been fatal wounds, according to the medical examiner’s findings, the State Attorney’s report said.

The bullet that killed Jones hit him on the right side of his chest, passing through a section of his heart and both lungs, the report said.

Just three days before the shooting, Jones bought a .380-caliber handgun that he had with him at the time of the shooting, according to the report. It was found 72 feet from the left rear of Jones’ vehicle, with the safety still on and without any bullets having been fired, the report said.

The night of the shooting, Raja was assigned to do surveillance patrol in large parking lots in response to a string of late-night vehicle burglaries, according to the state attorney’s report.

When the shooting occurred, Raja was wearing blue jeans, a tan T-shirt, sneakers and a tan baseball cap with the red letters “CAT” stitched across the front, according to the report.

Raja was driving a white Ford cargo van with no police markings. And he drove northbound on a southbound off-ramp to pull in front of Jones’ vehicle, the report said.

Raja’s supervisor later told investigators that Raja had been instructed to wear his tactical vest with police markings on it when he worked on assignment “for safety reasons” and to identify himself as a police officer. But he left the vest along with his police radio in the van when he approached Jones, the report said.

Raja, who at the time of the shooting had been working for Palm Beach Gardens police for less than a year, was fired in November while still in his probationary period for a new employee.

Raja’s attorney Richard Lubin could not be reached for comment Wednesday despite attempts by phone.

The city of Palm Beach Gardens released a statement saying it, too, learned Wednesday of Raja’s indictment. “We respect the criminal justice process at every level,” the city statement said. “We expect to make a more detailed statement on this matter in the future. Our thoughts are with the Jones and Banks families today.”

After Jones’ death, many rallies and protests were organized in Palm Beach County to protest delays in announcing any criminal charge against Raja and to keep the Jones case in the public spotlight.

It also led to changes by Palm Beach Gardens police. Its police chief has pointed to new policies put in place late last year banning all undercover officers from engaging in traffic stops without a backup marked car.

The department also started using body cameras after Jones’ death. Raja wore no body camera on the night of the shooting. Some other cities in South Florida similarly cited the Jones case as a reason for equipping officers with body cameras.

The manslaughter charge Raja faces is for “culpable negligence” in killing Jones by shooting him “without lawful justification,” according to the probable cause affidavit filed by the State Attorney’s Office.

The attempted first-degree murder charge is tied to Raja “unlawfully shooting” Jones the two times that didn’t kill him as well as the three shots that missed Jones, according to the State Attorney’s Office.

“The prosecutors are saying these are two separate, distinct acts,” said Robert Buschel, a Fort Lauderdale-based defense attorney not involved in the case.

Defense attorney Michael Salnick said he believes the attempted murder charge, which is punishable by up to life in prison for a conviction, could be an attempt by the prosecutors to get extra “leverage” for a possible plea bargain down the road.

Prosecutor-turned-defense attorney Marc Shiner, who watched Aronberg’s news conference on TV, said he expects Raja’s attorney will “argue self-defense all the way.”

Shiner, who called Jones’ death a “horrible tragedy” that warranted the filing of charges, said it’s going to be a legal battle for Raja’s freedom. The former cop will have to say he believed his life was in danger because a gun was pointed at him.

“If you’re a cop, you have the right to shoot someone and use deadly force if they are fleeing from a violent forcible felony,” Shiner explained.

Terry Banks, Jones’ uncle, said the family is happy Raja is charged with Jones’ death, but said they are cautiously optimistic.

“This is the beginning, not the end,” he said. “It won’t bring him back, but it’s a process we all have to endure.”

Palm Beach Gardens Vice Mayor Eric Jablin said he’s happy the family is finally getting some justice.

“The Jones family has been waiting a long time for this, and they’ve been extremely patient,” he said. “The system is slow, but it’s working.”

Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters, a friend of the Banks family, said he never lost faith that Raja would be charged. Regardless of what happens to Raja, he said, he wants to honor Jones’ memory by fighting for legislation that changes police procedure.

Masters, other community activists and leaders helped draft and promote Corey’s Law, which discourages departments from allowing plainclothes officers to conduct traffic stops. He said advocates for the law will meet in Washington, D.C., later this month and Tallahassee in July.

“This is not just a Palm Beach County problem. This is not just a Florida problem,” he said. “We don’t want this to happen ever again anywhere else in America.”

Banks, through tears, said the family misses Jones every day. He thanks those that stood by him and his family.

“It took a whole village to get justice,” he said. “I believe we are on the right track.”

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Former Miami-Dade Police Department Officer Convicted of Wire Fraud

Following an eight-day trial, a jury before United States District Judge Jose E. Martinez convicted Rafael Duran, a former police officer with the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and seven counts of wire fraud.  Duran had been employed as an officer with the MDPD from May 1994 until March 2016, when the MDPD terminated him following his 2015 indictment in this case.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge of the Miami Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Juan J. Perez, Director of the MDPD, made the announcement.

Duran’s offenses arose out of his use of his position as an officer with the MDPD to facilitate a fraud scheme operating out of a local credit repair company.  The credit repair company would attempt to repair the credit histories and credit scores of its customers by making false claims to the major credit reporting bureaus that its customers had been victims of identity theft.

In 2010, Duran was assigned to as a detective on the MDPD’s Mortgage Fraud Task Force, which was part of the Economic Crimes Bureau.  The evidence at trial showed that between April 2010 and June 2010, Duran wrote 10 offense-incident reports in which he falsely claimed that customers of the credit repair company had reported to him that they had been victims of identity theft.  However, the customers never made the reports, and Duran never met with them.  Moreover, the alleged victims in the reports written by Duran had not been victims of identity theft.  Duran also wrote a false identity theft report for an employee of the credit repair company.

After completing the false police reports, Duran delivered them to the credit repair company, which sent them to the major credit reporting bureaus, along with letters that mirrored the false claims in Duran’s police reports.  As a result of Duran’s false police reports, several customers of the credit repair companies obtained commercial lines of credit which subsequently went into default.

Duran also falsified identity theft reports for both himself and a family member.  However, Duran put those reports in the name of a fellow detective without telling the detective.  Duran delivered the reports to the credit repair company so that it could attempt to remove derogatory items from their credit histories through false claims of identity theft.

Duran had the credit repair company use the false police report in his name to try to remove from his credit repair history a $210,000 mortgage on a condominium in Naples, FL.  The mortgage had not been the product of any identity theft.  Rather, Duran had taken out the mortgage in June 2007 and stopped making payments on the mortgage sometime in 2008.

Following the verdict, the Court revoked the defendant’s bond and remanded him into custody.  The Court set Duran’s sentencing for July 26, 2016, at 1:30 pm.  Duran faces a maximum sentence per count of twenty years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

Mr. Ferrer expressed appreciation for the investigative efforts of the FBI Miami Area Public Corruption Task Force and the Professional Compliance Bureau of the Miami-Dade Police Department.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Davis and Ilham Hosseini.

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