This Week’s Corrupt Cops Stories

In Live Oak, Florida, a county jail guard was arrested last Wednesday on charges he was selling smuggled cigarettes, synthetic cannabinoids, and cellphones to inmates at the Suwannee Correctional Institution. Michael Dale Lindblade, 28, is charged with official misconduct, unlawful compensation, and removal of contraband. At last report, he was being booked into his now former place of employment.

In Akron, Ohio, a former East Cleveland narcotics detective was sentenced last Wednesday to nearly six years in federal prison after he admitted being part of scheme to rip off thousands of dollars from suspected drug dealers. Antonio Malone, 34, is the third former East Cleveland officer to go down in the corruption case in the street crimes unit. The officers conducted illegal searches and falsified search warrants while stealing from suspects. Malone pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy.

In Huntsville, Alabama, a former Huntsville police officer was sentenced Tuesday to two years in federal prison for bribing a rookie cop to drop drug trafficking charges against an accused dealer. Lewis Bernard Hall went down after the rookie reported the bribe, starting a city and FBI investigation. The rookie also got shorted on the bribe money by Hall and the drug dealer. Hall copped to one count of conspiracy and must report to prison next month.

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From the American dream to a nightmare: Black female lawyer forced to sue the Florida Bar for defamation and discrimination

BLACK-FEMALE-LAWYER-Marie-HFrom the American dream to a nightmare: Black female lawyer forced to sue the Florida Bar for defamation and discrimination

MOUNTY DORA, FL —There is a history of racial discrimination in the Florida justice system that spans over 100 years. Whenever a Black lawyer exposed injustices in the system, their license was suspended or revoked. This has gone on for decades; judges, lawyers, and court clerks who are responsible for making decisions in our state’s highest courts, can manipulate the lawyer’s “regulation system.”

Marie Henry is a single mother who is a veteran, worked extremely hard in college and law school, and was living the American Dream, before it turned into nightmare. On March 31, 2015, her dream job and her six figure income was stolen from her, because she stood up for her and her daughter’s rights.

“I filed an ethics complaint against a state attorney, and I filed a motion for disqualification against a circuit judge who presided in my daughter’s juvenile case,” says Henry. “Filing an ethics complaint and a motion for disqualification are lawful protected activities that could not, and should not have resulted in any action against me or my license.”

For the last year, Henry has not worked in her chosen profession, because her law license was suspended for “violation of rules of conduct.” According to Henry, she was never given a definitive legal explanation concerning which laws were broken, and why she was unfit to practice law.

At this point, Henry is living off her savings, and everything that she was taught to believe is turning into a nightmare, and a bunch of lies. The treatment that she has received from the Florida Bar has been despicable since Henry filed the ethics complaint, only after she consulted with the Bar. Instead of the Florida Bar working to investigate her complaints, its agents and employees initiated a system of harassment, retaliation, and unlawful conduct.

In Lake County, there is a history of racial discrimination and segregation. On 2009, Henry’s daughter was arrested for walking up a private street with a group of minority youth, and refusing to give her name to the police. The Florida juvenile law was not followed, and Henry was not immediately informed that her daughter was arrested, and the daughter was not allowed to make a phone call.

Once Henry found the location of her daughter, she filed a citizen’s complaint against the officers who arrested her child for excessive force and false arrest. Instead of the system working to resolve the issues, Henry was treated as if she was wrong for complaining about the treatment of her daughter. From the very beginning, Henry only wanted justice for her and her daughter, but there is a dysfunctional justice system in Florida.

“All I ever wanted was to hold the government to the standard that every single American is entitled – transparency, ethics, and accountability,” explained Henry. “But blowing the whistle only works when you have political and economic power.”

Public records show that the citizen’s complaint and an email from the arresting officer of Henry’s child became part of the Florida Bar actions against Henry that ended in the suspension of her license, and the loss of her career.

Henry sued the city of Mount Dora and its officers on behalf of her child, and also filed a federal lawsuit. Her license was suspended by the Florida Supreme Court without finding of facts, or explanation of the law that permitted the suspension. It takes courage to demand justice and fairness in a system that is broken and corrupt. For more information or an interview, contact On Point Media Group at jet38@bellsouth.net or (407) 421-5453 and ask for Roger.

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After acquittal in death of cab driver, Johnathan Mitchell indicted in cab robbery

(File Photo) Johnathan Mitchell listens to testimony Monday, Oct. 14, 2013, during his trial for the murder of Cathy Stickley at the Story County Court House in Nevada.

The man acquitted in the 2011 homicide of a local cab driver has now been charged in federal court for robbing her at the time of her death.

Johnathan Dewayne Mitchell, 38, of Cedar Rapids, was indicted Tuesday of one count of robbery affecting commerce in U.S. District Court. The indictment states Mitchell obstructed commerce — the cab company service — by “violently” robbing Catherine “Cathy” Stickley, 54, who was driving a Century Cab on April 29, 2011.

His initial appearance in federal court hasn’t been set. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

Mitchell was acquitted in 2013 by a Story County jury for first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in the homicide of Stickley, 54, of Cedar Rapids, who was stabbed to death that night in 2011. The trial was moved from Linn County due to pretrial publicity.

According to testimony, Stickley was stabbed 18 times in the neck and head. Mitchell’s prints were found in Stickley’s blood in the cab. The prosecution claimed Mitchell needed money for crack cocaine and he killed Stickley to get it.

Mitchell was out on bond pending a 2010 assault when Stickley was killed. Mitchell admitted during the trial that he stole money from Stickley to buy crack cocaine but he said she was already dead, lying outside the cab on the ground in the 1500 block alley between Second and Third avenues SE.

Mitchell was the only suspect in the homicide and the case hasn’t been reopened.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Young said he couldn’t comment on the case or explain why Mitchell has been charged five years later.

Greg Buelow, Cedar Rapids public safety spokesman, also declined comment, since it’s being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Mitchell is currently in prison, serving five years on a forgery charge in Johnson County. He was sentenced to seven years in 2013 for a 2010 assault on Arvin Druvenga and a separate forgery charge.

Mitchell at the plea hearing admitted to beating Druvenga with a wooden handled tool Sept. 25, 2010 while Druvenga and his wife were visiting Cedar Rapids to watch a relative play in a Coe College football game. Druvenga and his wife were watching the game from their parked car on 15th Street.

According to court records, Druvenga suffered skull fractures, a large cut on the top of his head that required eight staples and numerous skin abrasions. He also had to wear a neck brace for several weeks as result of the assault.

Mitchell was sentenced to seven years on those charges but was released on parole in August 2014, according to Iowa Department of Corrections records.

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Former Reynoldsburg police lieutenant accused in drug case to plead guilty

A former Reynoldsburg police lieutenant falsified search warrants and skimmed up to $250,000 in cash and property seized during drug investigations in a conspiracy with another officer that spanned a decade, federal investigators said Wednesday.

Shane M. Mauger, 41, of the 1800 block of Quarry Ridge Drive on the Far East Side, has agreed to plead guilty in U.S. District Court to one count each of federal program theft and conspiracy to deprive persons of their civil rights.

Each count is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, but Mauger cooperated with authorities and likely won’t face that much time. He is free pending a court appearance next Wednesday.

Federal agents said Mauger and Officer Tye Downard abused the public’s trust and their positions to enrich themselves.

“This conspiracy was ongoing for almost 10 years,” said Benjamin C. Glassman, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. “When they would execute search warrants or consent searches, they would seize money and keep some of it for themselves.”

Mauger was placed on leave on Feb. 18 after Downard, 43, was arrested on charges that he dealt drugs. Downard died four days later, after hanging himself with a bedsheet in his Delaware County jail cell.

Reynoldsburg police Chief James O’Neill said Mauger resigned on Friday. He had been with the police department for 20 years.

The pair under-reported seizures of cash and property in police reports, and Mauger also obtained search warrants by lying about having probable cause for searches, Glassman said.

The FBI began investigating Downard after an informant said Downard was providing him with drugs to sell, including some from earlier police seizures.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said three pending drug cases will be dropped because of Mauger’s corruption. Prosecutors are contacting defense lawyers in 10 closed cases to disclose Mauger’s involvement. O’Brien’s office already dropped drug charges against 15 people whose cases hinged upon Downard’s testimony.

Glassman said the federal probe will end with Mauger’s plea. Reynoldsburg police had placed a third officer on leave after Downard’s arrest, but O’Neill said he has been cleared.

“Now we can sort of push the reset button and get back to normal business,” the chief said.

Covert drug investigations require secrecy, O’Neill said, but the police department will try to determine how rogue officers exploited that trust and operated unnoticed for so long.

“There might have been a red flag or two that we missed,” he said.

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Cops ask Zac Brown for his autograph but don’t arrest him at a hotel room drug bust

PALM BEACH, FL - Talk about a “Chicken Fried” cover-up! Florida cops are being accused of keeping country singer Zac Brown out of the spotlight, after a sexy party/drug bust at a hotel last week. Here’s the low down on the hoe-down.

After a chauffeur parked outside the Four Seasons in Palm Beach was busted with coke, cops hit the party where his passengers were at. Inside a room at the hotel, officers found dudes, strippers, more cocaine, some pot, and the famous country star. Not a good scene, but luckily for Zac, blue was down with Brown.

After a “starstruck” cop allegedly asked Zac for his autograph, they kinda’ forgot he was ever there. The signer wasn’t even mentioned in the police report. Maybe they took pity on the married man with five kids, who claims he was “invited” to the room by a friend and had no idea about the illegal shenanigans going on inside.

Four people at the party were arrested for weed and coke, but one Grammy award-winning country signer was pardoned.
Apparently, good vocalists can talk themselves out of any situation.

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Ex-deputy in Acadia accused of stealing drug bust money

A former deputy with the Acadia Parish Sheriff

CROWLEY, La. (AP) - A former deputy with the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office has been accused of stealing $48,000 in money seized from drug busts.

The Advertiser reports (http://bit.ly/1WxtseL ) that Maxine Trahan has been arrested and charged with felony theft. She was a public informationofficer.

Trahan, 56, had the job of depositing money seized by the sheriff’s office into an account, according to an arrest affidavit. An audit of the account showed no deposits had been made by Trahan as far back as 2010. Trahan allegedly failed to make 15 separate deposits, according to the affidavit.

The missing money was to be distributed to law enforcement agencies, courts and the district attorney’s office.

Trahan had been the public information officer for at least 10 years.

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Knoxville police officer, 7 others charged with distributing drugs Officer Joshua Hurst resigned after being charged with multiple counts including official misconduct

Joshua Hurst (source: Blount County Sheriff's Office)
Joshua Hurst (source: Blount County Sheriff’s Office)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Eight people, including a Knoxville police officer, have been indicted on a variety of drug charges. Officer Joshua Hurst resigned from his post Wednesday afternoon.

Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch contacted Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen and TBI Director Mark Gwyn in February about one of his officers he suspected was involved in criminal activity. Since then, TBI’s Drug Investigation Division learned that several people, including a Knoxville police officer, were involved in distributing drugs including oxycodone and oxymorphone.

TBI says some of the transactions happened in a drug-free school zone and most of them were in Knox County, but some were in other parts of East Tennessee and Middle Tennessee.

Hurst, 38, is charged with three counts of conspiracy to possess with intent to deliver Schedule II oxycodone over 200g in a drug free zone, three counts of conspiracy to possess with intent to deliver Schedule II oxymorphone over 200g in a drug free zone, four counts of official misconduct, possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, possession with intent to deliver oxymorphone in a drug free school zone, possession with intent to deliver oxymorphone, two counts of possession with intent to deliver oxycodone in a drug free zone, possession with intent to deliver oxycodone, two counts of delivery of oxymorphone in a drug free school zone, delivery of oxycodone and delivery of methamphetamine.

Hurst is a 13-year veteran of the Knoxville Police Department and was awarded Officer of the Month in August 2007.

Also in custody are Milburn Breeden Jr., Erin Keenan, Pamela Moretta, Trevor Loy and Paul Glbertson. The eighth suspect has not yet been taken into custody.

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Cops accused of robbing dealers, selling their drugs in new federal charges

Theodore Levin Federal U.S. Courthouse
The Theodore Levin Federal U.S. Courthouse in Detroit. (Tanya Moutzalias | MLive.com) (Tanya Moutzalias | 

DETROIT, MI — Federal investigators believe multiple Detroit police were involved in a conspiracy to bust drug dealers, steal their stash, and in some cases, sell stolen drugs themselves.

Detroit Police Lt. David Hansberry, Officer Bryan Watson and Officer Arthur Leavells are the only three named in the criminal indictment — along with Hansberry’s friend, Kevlin O. Brown and Calvin Turner — but there were multiple other conspirators, according to federal investigators.

A total of eleven Detroit police have been named in civil lawsuits alleging similar misconduct since summer 2015.

Two more indicted in Detroit Police Narcotics Unit corruption probe

Two more indicted in Detroit Police Narcotics Unit corruption probe

New indictments resulting from a probe into criminal activity by members of the disbanded Detroit Police Department Narcotics Unit have been filed in federal court.

Hansberry, Watson and Leavells were first criminally indicted in April 2015, but more charges were added to the cases of Hansberry and Watson in a superseding indictment filed in February.

The federal government says the men monitored substantial drug transactions and intervened, “using their police authority to extort drugs, money and personal property.”

A trial of Hansberry, Watson and Brian is scheduled to start at the U.S. District Court in Detroit on June 7, if pleas aren’t arranged by May 4.

During the timeframe of the alleged crimes — between 2010 and 2014 — Hansberry received a promotion from sergeant to lieutenant.

Watson worked as a member of Hansberry’s “crew” in the Detroit Police Narcotics Unit. Hansberry was known by the nicknames “Hater” and “Sarge,” while Watson used the code name “Bullet.”

Leavells pleaded guilty in June 2015 to conspiring to distribute more than a kilogram of cocaine, admitting to diverting cocaine from being entered into evidence, so that it could be re-distributed and sold.

He’s scheduled for sentencing in late July, likely facing a minimum of nearly 4 years in prison and a minimum fine of $10,000, based on sentencing guidelines.

Hansberry is charged with 18 felony federal crimes; Watson with 16; and Brown with two. Turner pleaded guilty to conspiracy drug distribution in May 2015 and is set for sentencing in July.

Hansberry and Watson are suspended without pay. Detroit police media representatives couldn’t immediately verify the work status of Leavells or other officers named in the civil lawsuits.

Detroit Police Officer Nicole Kirkwood told MLive she hopes to have that information Thursday.

The indicted officers were accused of conducting fake arrests and traffic stops using Detroit police gear and vehicles to steal drugs and property, sometimes from inside the victims’ homes.

They didn’t log the seized property or narcotics.

“Rather, they would divide amongst themselves the money, property and controlled substances obtained from their victims, and would sell the controlled substances in order to share proceeds of such sales,” prosecutors claim in court filings.

“Just the tip of the iceberg”

Sometimes, Hansberry and Watson obtained warrants to legally search vehicles or homes but kept what they seized; and at times arranged the sale of heroin, marijuana and upwards of 5 kilograms of cocaine.

In addition to the criminal matter, there are two ongoing civil lawsuits.

Detroit-based attorney Michael R. Dezsi told MLive a year ago he believes the criminal indictments are “just the tip of the iceberg.”

“Obviously, this problem was much more pervasive,” Dezsi said. “It certainly it wasn’t limited to these (three) guys.”

Dezsi represents Timothy and Hatema Davis in a class-action lawsuit against various officers and the Detroit Police Department. The Warren couple claims Detroit police illegally raided their legal medical marijuana operation in late 2013.

Neither officers named in that civil suit, Lt. Charles Flanagan, former head of the Narcotics Unit, nor officer James Napier, who committed suicide in front of his parents’ Sterling Heights home Jan. 22, 2015, were named in the criminal complaints.

Attorneys for the Detroit Police Department are trying to keep internal records about investigations into misconduct from being becoming public.

U.S. District Judge Paul D. Borman in the David lawsuit granted the city a protective order that requires documents, such as Internal Affairs investigations and findings, be withheld from the public and destroyed or returned to the Department at the conclusion of the litigation.

The city argued release of the public information, especially to media, could unfairly “tarnish” the names of officers or associates not facing criminal indictment.

Two more indicted in Detroit Police Narcotics Unit corruption probe

Two more indicted in Detroit Police Narcotics Unit corruption probe

New indictments resulting from a probe into criminal activity by members of the disbanded Detroit Police Department Narcotics Unit have been filed in federal court.

 

The Davis lawsuit claims the officers “extensively tore apart” the house in a two-hour operation and, without ever presenting a search warrant or a receipt of seized property, took 50 marijuana plants and byproducts.

Police then took Timothy Davis to a seemingly abandoned building in Detroit and questioned him for five hours, the lawsuit claims.

He was eventually released and never charged with crimes, nor presented with any paperwork related to the raid.

“What I’ve heard generally is it’s been about six officers that have come in the house,” Deszi told MLive.

A court response to the Davis lawsuit called the grow operation illegal, and claimed police on Dec. 27, 2013 seized “77 marijuana plants, a box of loose marijuana, $275 of suspected narcotics proceeds, and Plaintiff Timothy Davis’ vehicle.”

Another Detroit couple, Anthony and Elaine McCallum, are also suing police, including Hansberry, Watson, Sgt. Stephen Geelhood, Arthur Blue, Larry Barnett, Amy Matelic, Steven Riley and Gregory Tourville.

They claim Detroit police lied in order to obtain a search warrant, then “battered” and arrested Anthony McCallum, who later had all charges against him dismissed.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said last year after the criminal indictments that about seven officers were suspended and placed on paid leave in October 2014 related to misconduct.

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Former East Cleveland police officer sentenced to nearly four years in prison

A former East Cleveland police officer was sentenced to nearly four years in prison for his role in a conspiracy in which he  kept thousands of dollars from alleged drug dealers, much of which was seized through illegal searches and fabricated reports, said Carole S. Rendon, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland Office.

Eric Jones pleaded previously guilty to one count of conspiracy against rights and one count of Hobbs Act conspiracy

Malone, of Cleveland, and Antonio Jones, of Cleveland Heights, were detectives assigned to the Street Crimes Unit. They were supervised by Sgt. Torris Moore. The unit, including Moore, Malone and Jones, were familiar with several drug traffickers, according to court documents.

From 2014 through June 2014, the defendants conspired to unlawfully enter premises and exceed the scope of lawful entry, thereafter conducting unlawful searches and seizures, used their power to seize money and property for themselves under the guise of legitimate search warrants, and created and approved false reports, affidavits and other documents to conceal their illegal searches and seizures, according to court documents.

These illegal searches took place in East Cleveland but also outside city limits, in various locations throughout Greater Cleveland. The conspirators placed false and inaccurate information in police reports, which Moore reviewed, knew was incorrect, but she failed to correct the inaccuracies. This false information was used to obtain search warrants, according to court documents.

The conspirators seized money and property during these searches, and diverted some of the seized money and property for their own use. Malone provided false information to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office about certain investigative techniques in order to conceal their illegal conduct, including attributing information to a confidential informant that did not exist, according to court documents.

For example, on Sept. 10, 2012, Jones presented an affidavit to an East Cleveland Municipal Judge, which the conspirators knew contained false and misleading statements. The judge, unaware of false information, issued a search warrant for a home on Sheldon Avenue. Moore, Malone, Jones and another officer then executed the search warrant and seized $20,000. On Sept. 11, Moore, Malone and Jones met at a park in East Cleveland and divided a portion of the $20,000, which each officer receiving between $2,000 and $3,000. Jones then authored a report reflecting that they had seized a total of $11,173, according to court documents.

On June 20, 2013, SCU officers searched a home on East 85th Street. Malone, without a search warrant, forced his way into a room that was secured by a padlock and seized approximately $100,000 in cash. Moore, Malone and Jones removed a portion of the cash before causing the remainder to be secured in the East Cleveland Police Department’s evidence room. Later that day, the three officers met at an East Cleveland park and divided the money, with each receiving about $10,000. Malone later wrote the search resulted in the recovery of $74,670, according to court documents.

On June 19, 2014, Malone encountered a parked car driven by a known drug trafficker, identified in the indictment only as M.M. Malone arrested M.M., who told the officer he had approximately $11,000 or $12,000 in the car’s glove box. Malone agreed to release M.M. but insisted on towing the car. Malone said: “I looked out for you. You gotta look out for me,” before instructing M.M. to get the cash from the glove box but to leave behind $3,000. Malone removed $3,000 from M.M.’s car but did not list the money when he completed the vehicle’s inventory form, according to court documents.

Torris Moore pleaded guilty late last year to one count each of conspiracy against rights, Hobbs Act conspiracy and false statements to law enforcement and two counts of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds. She was sentenced to nine years in prison

Officers Antonio Malone pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy against rights and one count of Hobbs Act conspiracy. His sentencing is pending.

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Indictment Unsealed Charging Wichita Police Lieutenant With Wire Fraud

WICHITA, KAN. - An indictment unsealed here today charges a Wichita police lieutenant with making fraudulent reports so she would be paid for working a part-time job while she was on duty, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said.

Heather D. Bachman, 40, Wichita, Kan., is charged with seven counts of wire fraud and one count of making a false statement to a federal investigator.

The indictment alleges Bachman defrauded the Wichita Police Department by working part time for Orion Security Services while on duty and being paid by the police department. She is alleged to have committed wire fraud by emailing timesheets to Orion.

In count four, she is accused of sending an email to Orion making a claim for mileage. The indictment alleges that in fact she used a marked Wichita Police Department patrol car owned by the City of Wichita. In count six, she is accused of electronically reporting to the city that she worked from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. on July 2, 2015, which was not true. In count seven, she is accused of electronically filing a tax return to the Kansas Department of Revenue that did not accurately report her earnings from part-time jobs. In count eight, she is accused of making a false statement to an FBI investigator that she never used a Wichita Police Department vehicle to transport a person for her part-time job. In fact, she transported a jewelry company representative and jewelry in her marked patrol car on Feb. 17, 2015.

If convicted, she faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on each wire fraud count and a maximum penalty of five years and a fine up to $250,000 on the charge of making a false statement. The Wichita Police Department and the FBI investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Barnett is prosecuting.

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