- A deputy sheriff accused of battering his daughter and threatening to
incarcerate her if she told on him now faces disciplinary action by
Hamilton County Sheriff Doug Carter.
going to the Merit Board," Carter said today of the results of an
internal investigation conducted after Deputy Mark A. Poynter was
arrested Sept. 9.
Poynter was suspended with pay after his arrest stemming from the case
initiated by Indiana State Police. His employment as a 19-year veteran
of the sheriff's department could be terminated as a result of the
Merit Board proceedings.
said he could not divulge details of the departmental findings pending
the public hearing before the board, which is currently set for Nov. 15.
"I wish I
could," he said.
50, is charged with battery resulting in bodily injury, intimidation
and obstruction of justice. The charges stem from past incidents
involving his 11-year-old daughter, according to court documents.
Poynter has declined to comment on the matter.
"He's on administrative leave pending the outcome of the hearing," said
Maj. Mark Bowen, who said Poynter will collect a paycheck while on
decision to take Poynter before the Merit Board reflects his opinion
that a 15-day suspension without pay -- the maximum penalty he can
administer without a Merit Board hearing -- is insufficient punishment.
saying what his recommendation would be, Carter said that a hearing
would be necessary if he were to seek an unpaid suspension beyond 15
days, a reduction in rank, or termination.
09/26/2005 - Indianapolis Police arrested
one of their own overnight, and he's accused of drinking and driving.
An IPD Detective on his home Friday morning said a car passed
him on I-70 driving about 120 miles per hour.
The detective called for help, hoping to get the car stopped.
officers stopped the car on the ramp onto southbound Shadeland Avenue,
they say Officer Michael Hill got out of the car and appeared to be
Hill works undercover as a narcotics detective.
Officer Hill told IPD officers he just left a downtown Indianapolis
Bar, where he says he only had five beers to drink.
But Hill's blood alcohol level registered at .25 - more than three
times the legal limit.
Hill didn't say if he was drinking with other officers or alone.
But he is now the sole target of both a criminal and an internal
is not unique," according to IPD's Steve Staletovich. "There have been
other officers stopped by IPD officers since I have been an information
officer. The message is clear, 'call a friend, or don't (drive) at
IPD Chief Michael Spears instituted a stricter disciplinary policy on
officers drinking and driving earlier this year.
That means Michael Hill's punishment, if found guilty, could range from
suspension to dismissal.
- NOBLESVILLE, Ind. -- Hamilton County Sheriff Doug Carter said Monday
he was "incredibly disappointed" over allegations that a deputy injured
and intimidated the deputy's 11-year-old daughter.
Mark Poynter, 50, of Westfield, was arrested Friday on charges of
battery resulting in bodily injury, intimidation and obstruction of
to a probable cause affidavit, Poynter in May drove to a spot where his
daughter was playing with friends and ordered her into the car. Once
she was inside, he grabbed her by her sweatshirt, shook her, and struck
her in the left eye with his right hand, according to the document.
Poynter also is accused of grabbing the
girl by the elbow this month, causing a deep bruise, Thomas reported.
said Poynter told his daughter that she would be put in juvenile
detention if she told authorities about the incidents.
Carter said his department has launched an internal
am incredibly disappointed. When an officer makes a decision that
brings discredit to this profession and ultimately to this agency,
particularly one that I have responsibility for, it upsets me greatly,"
freed after posting $12,500 bond. He is on paid suspension.
09/07/2005 - The military trial of an Army reservist accused of abusing
a detainee who later died in Afghanistan began Tuesday with a fellow
officer testifying that she watched the reservist and a soldier from
Jeffersonville kicking the prisoner.
Christopher W. Greatorex, who served in Afghanistan with the
Cincinnati-based 377th Military Police Company, is standing trial for
abusing a detainee known as Habibullah at a Bagram Airfield detention
center, then lying about it. He is on trial at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Keri Patterson testified Tuesday that Greatorex and Jeffersonville
soldier Sgt. Darin Broady took turns hitting the Habibullah on his
knees as he stood in his cell with his hands chained to the ceiling.
She said Broady, who has since become a Sellersburg police officer,
also gave Habibullah "a kind of kung-fu kick" to the abdomen as the man
shouted "Allah" several times.
died in December 2002, several days after being taken into U.S. custody.
trial, which will also take place at Fort Bliss, begins later this week.
said a third officer was with Greatorex and Broady when Habibullah was
abused, but that she cannot call his name and that he did not strike
the prisoner. She acknowledge that she should have reported the
incident when it happened, but instead wrote in a log only that
Habibullah had been reprimanded.
is one of nine soldiers who have been charged in several abuse cases.
At issue in many of those cases has been the use of the knee strikes,
known as a common peroneal strike.
a pretrial hearing, Greatorex's Army lawyer has argued that another
soldier is guilty of the abuse and that Greatorex was mistakenly
identified. The lawyer, Capt. Juan Roman, said Greatorex is often
confused with the other soldier.
contends that a missing set of log books from the detention center can
prove his claim.
books, which military investigators said have vanished but probably
contain no evidence of prisoner abuse, have been discussed in other
soldiers' trials. Lawyers for former Pvt. Willie V. Brand of
Cincinnati, a reservist who was convicted of severely beating another
detainee who also later died, argued that the books' value is
impossible to know since they cannot be located.
is among several soldiers who have been convicted or pleaded guilty to
abuse and other charges.
against former Sgt. James P. Boland, another Ohio reservist, were
dropped and he was simply reprimanded.
family has remained supportive of him since charges were filed.
family is standing behind Darin 150 percent," said brother Keith
Broady, after charges were filed last month. "There's nothing we
wouldn't do for him."
Broady said his brother "has impeccable character and more experience
(in law enforcement) that most officers. He knows not to kick someone
when they're down and not to mistreat them."
to Keith Broady, his brother was "totally shocked" when he was recalled
to active duty and learned of the court martial. "He felt like he was
railroaded," he brother said. "Darin is a pillar of his community."
Police Chief Pat Bradshaw has said Broady is one of his department's
most respected officers, and is frequently requested for special
details to area schools.
09/03/2005 - Criminal charges have been dismissed against a South Bend
police officer charged with nine felonies because his case languished
too long in the system.
unclear exactly who dropped the ball, but most sources indicate the
case died because the office of St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael
Dvorak failed to request a special prosecutor.
Ronald Johnson had been facing four charges of failure to pay state
taxes; four charges of theft; and a charge of corrupt business
influence. All nine of the charges, filed in late September 2003, were
charges covered September, October, November and December 1998, when
Johnson was associated with Finnigan's Irish Pub, a former bar in
downtown South Bend.
bar allegedly had not paid sales tax to the state for the entire year,
according to Stephanie McFarland, director of information for the
Indiana Department of Revenue, but the five-year statute of limitations
had expired for the first eight months.
For the same
reason, the charges cannot be refiled, she said.
disappointed with the outcome,'' McFarland said, because the state felt
it had a strong case against Johnson.
did not respond to a telephone message and letter seeking comment from
Albrecht, an investigator with the Department of Revenue, said in an
affidavit filed with the charges that Johnson had been an owner, along
with Julius Cheney, of a business called the Irish Blossom Corp.
Johnson, who joined the police force Dec. 18, 1979, reportedly was a
"silent partner'' in the bar because state law prohibits a police
officer from holding a liquor license.
corporation operated Finnigan's, which opened in June 1996 at 113 E.
Wayne St. During the last four months of 1998, the affidavit says, the
owners collected sales taxes of at least $7,961 but failed to pay those
taxes to the state as required.
An Allen County resident filed an excessive force lawsuit Wednesday
against a Fort Wayne police officer honored last year by an association
for the mentally ill.
Mark Bieker is a
six-year-veteran of the Fort Wayne Police Department and a member of
the department’s Crisis Intervention Team.
lawsuit, filed by
Manasseh B. Ogunsusi in Allen Superior Court, claims that Bieker kicked
him in the back, causing serious injury even though he offered no
physical resistance and made no threats.
ccording to the suit,
Ogunsusi received a message the night of July 21, 2004, that his
brother’s home had been “shot up.” He
decided to go pick up his brother
and was carrying a licensed firearm for personal protection.
Ogunsusi arrived at the
home, he saw a large group of people outside so he drove down the
street and parked. While walking to the house, he was stopped by
officers Todd Hughes and Dan Ingram, the suit said.
Bieker then arrived
and asked Ogunsusi whether he had a weapon. He was ordered to put his
hands on his head, which he did, and told the officers he had a gun and
a permit for it under his shirt. When the officers tugged at his shirt
Bieker allegedly kicked Ogunsusi hard in the back.
“was knocked down to
the ground and his face hit the pavement as a result of the kick. He
was then detained, and asked whether he could see a doctor due to
extreme pain from the kick to his back,” the lawsuit said.
was originally charged with a misdemeanor count of resisting law
enforcement, but the charge was later dismissed.
08/20/2005 - A former Carmel police
officer who pleaded guilty to child molesting could spend the rest of
his life behind bars.
E. Terry, 53, Westfield, was sentenced Thursday to a total of 50 years
in prison with 10 years suspended and 10 years of probation.
made no statement to the court, as he quietly listened to Hamilton
County Superior Court Judge Daniel Pfleging read the sentences for one
count of child molesting, a Class A felony, two counts of child
molesting, both Class A misdemeanors, and one count of attempted child
molesting, a Class C felony. Thirty-two other counts against Terry were
dismissed in a plea agreement.
Pfleging also ordered Terry to
undergo counseling and treatment for child sexual issues and alcohol
substance abuse, as well as register as a sex offender and pay for
counseling for the victim.
received credit for 579 days already served in jail.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp and Deputy
Prosecutor Stephanie Smith said they both were pleased with the
glad it's over with, for the sake of everyone — the family
Leerkamp said. "I know that (the victim), until that day came, she just
couldn't be quite sure that this was going to be behind her."
of the molestations in January 2004 stunned the community as well as
law enforcement officers, who were shocked at hearing a fellow officer
and 28-year veteran of the Carmel Police Department had been arrested.
really hits home when you do this kind of work, and one of your own law
enforcement officers lets you down by doing this kind of thing,"
During the sentencing hearing Thursday, Smith
read a statement written by the female victim, who was present in the
courtroom. Her letter stated that Terry, a trusted family friend,
molested her from the time she was 7 years old until she was 10.
"During these years I kept a dark secret from my family," she
said. "Thanks to my family, I got through it."
She also charged Terry showed her pornographic materials and gave her
The girl stated she finally told a brother about the
incidents, and he convinced her to talk to her parents.
Leerkamp said the defendant had a special position of trust with the
victim's family and with the community.
"The words of this victim speak louder in this courtroom than
anything else at this time," she said.
The victim's father also addressed the court and called Terry a coward.
watching a parent's worst nightmare unfold before you," he said. "I
hope he never sees the light of day again outside of this courtroom."
Pfleging expressed his sympathy to the girl and her family. "There's
nothing we can do to make anything whole again," he said.
Pfleging said little to Terry, who entered the courtroom on
crutches because of a deteriorating health condition.
years in the Department of Correction isn't very great, just because of
your physical condition," he said. He hoped Terry would be able to get
some exercise during his incarceration and get better.
The father of the victim was not as kind.
"I feel that police officers that molest children should go
straight to Hell," he said. "That's how I feel."
HAMMOND - The Board of Public Works and Safety can expect to hear
lengthy testimony next week about whether police Sgt. George Gavrilos
helped cover up a fellow officer's drunken driving eight years ago.
attorneys deny that the veteran officer blew into a blood-alcohol
analysis machine to cover up the drinking of former Lt. Thomas Hanna,
who threatened a teen with his service weapon before crashing his city
car into another police car in 1997.
The city public
works board must decide whether to accept Police Chief Brian Miller's
recommendation to fire Gavrilos. The board has jurisdiction any time a
police officer receives discipline harsher than a five-day suspension.
public hearing had been scheduled for Thursday, but was delayed for at
least the third time to give attorneys from both sides enough time to
prepare their cases. The hearing was rescheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 18.
three-member public works board is made up of city Controller Barbara
Cardwell, City Engineer Stanley Dostatni and Corporation Counsel Joseph
O'Connor -- all of whom are appointed by the mayor.
O'Connor said he could not comment on whether a settlement
with Gavrilos was in the works.
my office is handling the prosecution, we have no comment on whether
there are discussions on the case," O'Connor said, adding that he will
recuse himself from deliberations and voting on the matter.
Gilbert Blackmun, who is representing the city in the hearing, declined
to say exactly who would be called as witnesses in the hearing. He
expected the testimony would come mostly from former or current police
officers and would last at least two full days.
On Jan. 21,
1997, Hanna was at the Calumet Tap drinking with fellow officers and
then-Mayor Duane Dedelow Jr. According to court testimony, Hanna left
the club and drove around town threatening unarmed citizens with his
On his way home, he smashed his unmarked city
car into rookie officer John Muta's patrol car, which was parked on the
side of the road for a traffic stop. Muta was injured in the crash and
eventually received a $28,000 city settlement.
after the crash Hanna was taken to police headquarters in City Hall,
where a blood-alcohol analysis machine showed that he had blood-alcohol
concentration of zero.
Prosecutors later alleged that another
officer who hadn't been drinking had blown into the machine for Hanna.
A Lake County grand jury indicted six officers, including Hanna and
Gavrilos, for covering up the crime.
But the cover-up
indictments were dropped because five of the officers were never
notified they were targets of the probe and entitled to legal
protection against self-incrimination. Hanna was found guilty of
misdemeanor reckless driving and intimidation in 2000 and retired from
the police force.
In 2002, Gavrilos and three others sued the
city for requiring them to perform community service while on two years
of paid leave during the investigation. The four eventually received
$5,625 each from the city as settlement of their complaint.
Hanna affair arose again in 2004, when incoming Mayor Thomas McDermott
Jr. directed Miller to open a new internal probe. Miller decided in
March to fire Gavrilos.
the police commission completed its unanimous vote to fire the
beleaguered 13-year veteran, Pardus stood, shook the nearby garbage
can, slammed out the door and squealed his tires as he sped out of the
all my years as a citizen
in this community, as a police officer and elected official,
seen a gentleman as out of control like I’ve seen Mr.
Commissioner James Fleming said in his motion.
for a brief discussion on procedural matters, none of the other
commissioners commented on the termination. They all watched as Pardus
made his noisy exit from the Public Safety Facility.
he’d stayed, he would have heard Gary Police Civil Service
members decide to put his other disciplinary matters on hold until
they’re sure Pardus won’t win an appeal on Thursday
board is expecting a recommendation soon on charges Pardus violated a
direct order by portraying himself as a police officer after Chief
Garnett Watson placed the Merrill-ville resident on paid administrative
leave and suspended his police powers.
took the action in October after receiving Pardus’
evaluation in connection with an unrelated disciplinary matter.
board on Thursday voted to reject a hearing officer’s
that Pardus serve a 30-day unpaid suspension after Pardus was charged
with failing to turn in a handgun with an obliterated serial number.
appealed the recommendation, claiming he meant to turn in the pistol he
found in Aetna while assisting his father, an insurance agent who was
evaluating a property there.
gun was discovered when Pardus’ SUV was repossessed from the
department parking lot last year. Although the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the incident, no criminal
charges were filed against Pardus.
is appealing another disciplinary matter in Lake Circuit Court. He has
also filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city, claiming Watson has
discriminated against him and violated his civil rights.
GreenCastle, Ind. - A Greencastle police officer has been placed on
administrative leave following allegations that he exposed himself and
sexually harassed women, RTV6 reported Thursday.
Sellers, 36, faces six allegations of misconduct. Police said that he
is accused on one occasion of visiting a 911 dispatch center and
handing a female dispatcher a note asking for oral sex.
Sellers also is accused of
grabbing his genital area and verbally harassing the dispatcher on
another occasion, police said.
06/23/2005 - Elkhart, Ind.
— A warrant has been issued for a former police officer and
from Indiana who is wanted in connection with an armed robbery last
week at the National City Bank branch in Moline.
Bruce Davidson Jr. is being sought in connection with the June 16 crime.
police said a man
walked into the bank branch, displayed a handgun and demanded money.
The suspect was described as white, with a large build and in his 40s.
He was wearing a baseball or golf-style cap, blue jeans and a
long-sleeved, pullover golf-style jacket.
the robber left with
the cash, police said a customer saw a vehicle go through a nearby mall
and then speed away from the area. The vehicle had an Indiana license
plate, 49E8616, which belongs to a Ford Explorer registered out of
has been followed by controversy during careers as a police officer and
to records, he
moved to the Indianapolis area after being fired from his job as an
Elkhart police officer in 1995. Elkhart is a city in north-central
Davidson was president of
the Elkhart Fraternal Order of Police in 1994 when a letter in The
Truth, a newspaper published there, accused him of being soft on crime
and abusing unspecified police privileges. The letter was signed by a
reserve police officer who eventually admitted that then-Mayor James
Perron actually wrote the letter.
later filed a
defamation suit against Perron, the city and its insurance company. The
case was transferred from Elkhart County to Kosciusko County, where it
was thrown out and subsequently reinstated. By the time the case went
to a jury trial in 2002, Davidson had earned his law degree and was
working as a lawyer in Marion County.
County jurors ruled
that the letter defamed Davidson and awarded him $200,000. Perron
eventually dropped an appeal after reaching a settlement for an amount
"far less" than the jurors' award, Perron said.
Indiana Supreme Court
removed Davidson's law license last fall after finding him guilty on
six counts of misconduct. He was accused of taking clients' money for
lawsuits that never were filed or on which he did little work.
Supreme Court found that
Davidson had engaged in a "serious pattern of neglect of his clients."
He failed to appear for the disciplinary proceedings after they were
initiated in March 2004, according to court documents.
to the order, he
accepted retainers and filing fees from some clients, but did not file
court papers on their behalf. In other cases, documents were filed, but
clients who had hired Davidson were unable to contact him about the
progress of their cases. He later abandoned his legal practice, the
an FBI spokesman
said he could not comment on the case because it is a pending
investigation, local authorities in Elkhart and some of Davidson's
former co-workers have been notified that he is wanted in connection
with the Moline robbery.
Miller of Bristol, Ind., declined to discuss the robbery accusations.
But she did share some thoughts from her family.
is not the Bruce we
know and love," she said. "Bruce has many people who support him and
know this is not the Bruce Davidson they know. His family and close
friends are standing 100 percent by his side. God is surely with him at
this time. He is not alone.
daughter said, ‘Mom, this is not the Bruce we know. This is
somebody different.' Wherever he's at, maybe he will see this."
06/07/2005 -Tim Gilbert, a Perry County sheriff's deputy accustomed to
placing others in custody, was himself in handcuffs and shackles
Thursday morning -- recaptured after a
nighttime flight from the county jail.
45-year-old Gilbert, placed on paid leave for the past month pending an
investigation by state police, escaped Wednesday night while being
booked on a Class A felony charge of child molesting. The ensuing
search involved more than 30 sheriff's deputies, state police and
officers from Tell City and Cannelton. They fanned out across Tell City
and Cannelton before locating Gilbert, about four hours later, hiding
under a trailer near Tell City's floodwall, on property once owned by
Gilbert was taken into custody without incident and faces an afternoon
hearing Thursday in Perry Circuit Court.
police from the Sellersburg Indiana State Police Post arrested Gilbert
at 6:50 p.m. Wednesday. Still living at 632 Ninth St. in Tell City,
Gilbert was working at Jeff Boat in Jeffersonville, Ky. when arrested.
Troopers obtained their arrest warrant after receiving allegations late
last month from from a 16-year-old girl, who said Gilbert molested her.
The alleged molestation started when the girl was 9 and continued, she
said, over several months. The News also has learned that troopers
searched Gilbert's home Wednesday, but the affidavit for the search
warrant was not immediately available when the courthouse opened
Gilbert was returned to Perry County
Wednesday night and while being booked into the jail around 8:30, fled
on foot. Troopers apparently placed Gilbert in a booking room and then
locked a door that leads to the front of the jail. But Gilbert, a
10-year-veteran of the department, walked down a hallway and entered
the jail's office area. He then fled from the west side of space used
by former sheriffs as a living area.
Officers in cars and on
foot spread out across the area, but focused their search in a wooded
area around River Road, between Tell City and Cannelton. Approximately
two hours later, an officer on foot reported seeing someone walking in
the area. After securing a perimeter from near Cannelton to Sunset Park
in Tell City, officers began their search, using a canine unit from
Rockport. An hour later, officers walking inside a fenced area of the
former Maxon Marine property -- now owned by
Tell City but leased to the county's port authority --
discovered Gilbert under the trailer.
in a gray T-shirt, Gilbert let fly a string of profanities at officers
and a News editor while being led to a waiting police car. Gilbert was
taken to Perry County Memorial Hospital as a precaution and then
transported back to the county jail.
Gilbert has been on paid
leave for more than a month while state police conducted what Sheriff
Bob Glenn said was a possible criminal investigation. Results of that
probe were turned over to County Attorney Chris Goffinet earlier this
month, but the molestation allegations against Gilbert apparently
surfaced May 23.
Glenn confirmed last week that troopers were looking at new allegations.
was first in hot water in March, when he was suspended without pay for
10 days for failing to respond to a 911 call to investigate the death
of a Magnet man.
County Prosecutor Robert Collins said new charges against Gilbert,
including escape, will be filed.
05/28/2005 - An
Indianapolis police officer was sentenced to a year of probation Monday
and admitted he was drunk when he crashed his personal truck into
Court Judge Linda Brown also ordered Adrian Aurs, 31, to undergo an
alcohol abuse evaluation and attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving
victim-impact panel. Aurs' driver's license was suspended for 90 days.
No one was
seriously injured Dec. 7 when Aurs, who was off duty, crashed his
Chevrolet pickup truck into a Volkswagen sedan on I-65, near the
Keystone Avenue exit on the Southside. Aurs suffered a cut on his
Indiana State Police
arrested Aurs after he refused to submit to a field-sobriety test.
Defense attorney John
Kautzman said Aurs regrets his actions and apologizes to the other
"What this shows
is the officer knew he was in the wrong," Kautzman said. "He has
committed to himself and to the department that nothing like this will
ever happen again."
The East District
patrolman, on the force for more than five years, was treated the same
as any other defendant, prosecutor's office spokesman Roger Rayl said.
After the incident, the
department suspended Aurs for 14 days and reassigned him to desk duty.
Phillips, a department spokeswoman, said internal affairs will complete
its investigation this week and submit a report to Chief Michael Spears.
Aurs will remain on desk
duty while Spears decides if further administrative punishment is
necessary, Phillips said.
court records, Aurs and his passenger, Brook Nicole Fleetwood, 22,
Bedford, were southbound in the center lane of I-65 when Aurs swerved
into a 2004 Volkswagen driven by Amy Beth Boaz-Pawlus, 32, Columbus.
Boaz-Pawlus lost control, was struck a second time by Aurs' truck and
then came to a stop in the center lane.
Aurs' truck went
off the road and down an embankment. He ran over a fence line before
crashing into a tree, records say.
15-year-old boy who shouted profanities at a police officer during an
investigation was exercising his right to free speech, the Indiana
Court of Appeals has found.
unanimously overturned the youth's juvenile conviction in Marion
Superior Court for disorderly conduct, finding that his remarks
protesting an officer's treatment of a companion were permissible under
the Indiana Constitution.
In June 2004,
police responded to a report of juveniles spray-painting graffiti on a
garage. An officer found the youth and his companion sitting in the
back seat of a vehicle and told them to put their hands up.
But the youth's
companion let his hands drop. "(Expletive) you!" the youth reportedly
told the officer. "He can't keep his arms up -- his arms hurt."
ordered him to stop yelling, but the youth continued shouting after he
and his companion were removed from the vehicle, police said.
"You guys are all racists;
(expletive) the police," the youth said.
Because he was a juvenile,
the court opinion referred to him as "U.M." rather than using his name.
"Although we do
not agree with the manner in which U.M. conducted himself . . . U.M.
was expressing himself regarding the legality and appropriateness of
police conduct toward his companion," appellate court Senior Judge
George B. Hoffman Jr. wrote.
Legal experts say
that while free speech does not permit someone to obstruct police or
sway others to violence, protection does extend to someone whose words
An expert in constitutional
law said the appeals court decision was consistent with other
interpretations of free speech.
"The core of
First Amendment freedom is the right to criticize the state in the
exercise of political power," said Andrew Koppelman, a Northwestern
University law professor. "The idea is that you can't have a democracy
if government gets to shut down people who are criticizing" it.
The youth's attorney was
unavailable for comment Friday, and the Indiana attorney general's
office declined to comment.
The state filed a
petition alleging the youth to be a delinquent child. A juvenile court
found he committed disorderly conduct, which would be a misdemeanor if
committed by an adult.
But the appellate
court in its decision Thursday agreed with the youth's position that
police could not charge him with disorderly conduct simply for
criticizing the officer's behavior. The opinion did not identify the
police agency involved.
A spokeswoman for
the Indianapolis Police Department said officers have learned to deal
with verbal abuse but warned that it can't cross the line.
"By nature we do
have to have thick skins, and I think most of us do," Sgt. Judy
Phillips said. "We understand that there's people out there who have
that mentality or feel like we could be out to get them.
"But when they take it to
the level of being disorderly and inciting crowds or such, that's the
concern that we have."
Though the state
argued that the youth had abused his right of free speech, the appeals
court found his comments caused no true harm.
The court cited a
section of the state constitution that says "no law shall be passed
restraining the free interchange of thought and opinion, or restricting
the right to speak."
Orentlicher, an Indiana University law professor and Democratic state
representative from Indianapolis, said words alone do not give police
license to punish people who fault their actions.
"You can't have a free
society if people aren't allowed to criticize authority," Orentlicher
05/22/2005 - Shelbyville -
Two veteran officers of the Shelbyville Police Department are fighting
to keep their jobs. The head of the department wants them off the force.
officers were recently investigated on a host of allegations by a
special prosecutor. The probe didn't produce any criminal charges, but
Police Chief John West wants both men fired.
feel like there was a lot of baggage left behind for us and we're
cleaning that up," said West.
believes Sgt. Terry
Wadsworth and Lt. Robert Brinkman Jr. were involved in conduct
unbecoming an officer. Both are on administrative leave, with pay,
until after a hearing by the city's board of public works and safety.
always under the microscope but also it sends a message out to
everybody that we're going to clean up all the problems we've had over
the years and the new Shelbyville Police Department isn't going to
tolerate this kind of conduct," said Chief West.
says those problems
include former Chief Kehrt Etherton, who's off the force and awaiting
trial for theft charges. The chief says he's trying to steer his
department into a new direction - one that will bring about a positive
Furgeson, says despite the apparent police issues facing his town of
18,000, he doesn't feel those who live here have gone unprotected.
think even before I was
mayor and we've had these problems going on three to four years now. I
don't think public safety has ever been jeopardized in any way, shape
or form," said Furgeson, who heads the board that will decide the
Shelbyville's Police Department probe came
from within when a group of officers filed a federal lawsuit. That
produced 37 separate allegations of misconduct, all of which were
hearing for these two officers, who are on administrative leave with
pay, is set for June 20th.
Involved: Paul Woods
9/05/2004 -- Officer Paul
Woods, 37, is charged with obstructing traffic and official misconduct
after police Sgt. David Wisneski obtained a warrant for his arrest.
criminal charges surprised
Washington Township Constable John D. O'Hara, who said police officers,
including deputy constables, occasionally block traffic. Woods was
wearing a badge and directing traffic. "Here you had a police car with
flashing lights on and safety cones," O'Hara said. "This may be the
first charge of that kind in Indiana history." Wisneski, in his
affidavit seeking criminal charges, said Woods swore at him after
Wisneski explained that he could not block traffic on a city street for
a private event without a permit. Woods' police car was actually his
personal sedan, unmarked but equipped with authorized police emergency
October 19, 2004 -
Michael Farmer keeps photographs to document
his fight with an off-duty Indianapolis Police officer. Farmer and
Officer Frank Hittel got into it last October.
The fight happened at the Brass Flamingo Strip Bar.
"He pretty much black my eye, cut my
nose with his ring, chipped
one of my front teeth and broke the whole row of the back ones and
pretty much knocked me out of my chair," recalls Farmer. That chair is
his wheelchair. Farmer is a paraplegic. He lost the use of his legs
after a car crash.
Prosecutors originally charged Officer Hittel with
battery. But in
court Tuesday morning Hittel pled guilty to disorderly conduct.
Prosecutors say after interviewing witnesses from
the bar that night it was unclear exactly what sparked the fight.
Deputy Prosecutor John Commons adds, "By allowing
him to plead
guilty to that charge we didn't have to run the risk of going to trial
and possibility of him being found not guilty."
"I guess I got a conviction, so that's all that
says Farmer. "It seems like they smacked him on the wrist and let him
The judge gave Hittel 180 days in jail suspended
plus a $250 fine.
As for Farmer, he's still trying to come up with
money to pay
medical bills. "I still got to go get dental work done, stuff like
that. Nobody likes to go to the dentist."
Farmer says he showed up for court prepared for a
trial. But he's at
least satisfied that court records reflect the officer's conviction and
punishment for his conduct.
That's not the only punishment for Officer Hittel.
Police Chief Jerry Barker also suspended him for 90 days without pay.
Paraplegic Farmer says he's undecided about filing
a civil suit
against Hittel. He feels Hittel should pay for his medical bills.
June 26, 2004
- THORNTON -- A Lynwood police chief who was fired
amid charges of professional misconduct was arrested in Thornton after
allegedly spitting in an officer's face and using racial slurs against
David Panozzo, 47, of Thornton, was arrested and
aggravated battery, resisting a police officer and disorderly conduct
at 12:21 a.m.
Wednesday at 7-11, 103 W. Margaret St., in
connection with the incident.
According to police, a Thornton police officer was
on his lunch
break at the 7-11 when he noticed Panozzo taking a 40-ounce bottle of
beer from the liquor cooler. Panozzo allegedly asked the officer, "Why
are you staring at me." When the officer said he wasn't staring,
Panozzo allegedly called him a racist.
The officer said Panozzo repeatedly refused orders
to leave the
store, dropping and breaking two bottles of beer, swearing at the
officer, calling him a racist and using racial slurs against the black
When the officer ordered Panozzo to get out of the
doorway of the store, Panozzo allegedly spat in the officer's face.
The officer placed Panozzo on the ground as the
former police chief
allegedly resisted, continuing to use racial slurs against the officer.
Police said Panozzo had the odor of alcohol on his
breath at the time of the incident.
Panozzo requested assistance from paramedics, who
transported him to
South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest. His father drove him to the
Thornton Police Station from the hospital.
Police said the encounter was captured on the
store's security surveillance camera.
Panozzo appeared Friday for a bond hearing at the
6th District Cook
County Courthouse in Markham and was released on his own recognizance.
The former chief also was ordered to report to social services and to
take a drug test.
June 4, 2004 - A
Washington Township deputy constable directing
traffic at a funeral wake is facing up to a year in jail after he
refused an Indianapolis Police sergeant's order to move his car from a
The township officer, Paul Woods, 37, was charged
traffic and official misconduct after Sgt. David Wisneski obtained a
warrant for his arrest.
Neither Woods, who made his initial appearance
today in a Marion County Superior , nor Wisneski could be reached for
The criminal charges surprised
Washington Township Constable John
D. O'Hara, who said police officers, including deputy constables,
occasionally block traffic. Woods was wearing a badge from his neck and
"Here you had a police car with flashing lights on
and safety cones.
This may be the first charge of that kind in Indiana history."
Wisneski, in his affidavit seeking criminal
charges, said Woods
swore at him after Wisneski explained that he could not block traffic
on a city street for a private event without a permit.
The event was an informal memorial dinner for
Alonzo L. "Nate Dogg"
Davidson, a 22-year-old biker who was killed May 21 when his motorcycle
crashed into a school bus on East 21st Street.
The dinner was sponsored by the Eastside auto body
Davidson worked. Tables of food were set up in the garage's three bays,
and about 400 people began arriving Saturday afternoon, after
Davidson's casket was taken to the cemetery in a hearse carriage drawn
by a three-wheeler, said Danny Graham, the owner of the garage.
Woods was directing the motorcycles and cars into
three different lots and keeping the street cleared, Graham said.
The garage is located in the 3900 block
of East 21st Street,
directly across from an Indianapolis Department of Public Works fuel
pump, which is used by IPD officers and other city employees.
S.A. Tinnin-Bey, who was at the dinner,
said Woods' car was in the
closest lane of the road, which is two lanes in each direction there.
"If it wasn't for Paul, it probably would have been worse than it was,"
According to Wisneski's account,
however, he was called to the
scene after other IPD officers tried to keep a crowd of people from
blocking traffic and were treated rudely.
May 27, 2004 - The
board contemplating the fate of five Seymour
police officers accused of department misconduct plans to hold a
hearing at 3 p.m. Friday at city hall to determine what if any
discipline they face.
The city board of public works and
safety received evidence during
a hearing May 5 from attorney Jeffrey Lorenzo, representing the police
department, and Leo Blackwell, the attorney for the five officers, Sgt.
Anthony Prewitt, Cpls. Kevin Hall, J.B. Hamblin and Bruce M. Peak and
Officer Jayson Kaiser.
The five are accused of misconduct on election
Members of that board are Mike Jordan
and Mary Voss. A third board
member, Mayor Jim Bullard, recused himself from the case because the
five officers supported his successful run for mayor in 2003.
April 9, 2004 -
Indiana State Police have concluded their
investigation into a misconduct complaint against a Clay County
Now the case rests with county Prosecutor Dave
Thomas, who said
Thursday that the accusation against Deputy Jeff Maynard is still under
A Clay City woman has alleged that Maynard made
sexual innuendoes and pushed her during a Feb. 28 traffic stop.
The woman, who is in her 30s, claimed the deputy
suggested she could get out of a ticket in exchange for exposing her
When she declined, the woman said
Maynard pushed her with a
clipboard, which resulted in her falling to the ground. She also
alleged Maynard grabbed her chest and was verbally abusive during the
traffic stop along Indiana 59.
The woman has said a second officer,
reserve deputy Mike Deakins,
was a witness to a portion of the incident and actually signed the
ticket, written for driving with a suspended driver's license.
Last month, Clay County Sheriff Rob Carter
requested the State Police investigate. State Police 1st Sgt. Dave
April 4, 2004 - An Indiana State
University police officer has
been fired after an internal investigation into an off-duty road rage
incident, university records show.
Pete Tanoos, 42, of Terre Haute was
accused of violating seven
campus police department orders as result of a Dec. 18 incident along
U.S. 41. Among the allegations were that he committed officer
misconduct, criminal conduct, made false statements and inappropriately
used his police powers while off-duty.
According to a January complaint by a former Terre
Tanoos – a six-year member of the campus police -- yelled
and threats and spit on the other man.
Tanoos has claimed otherwise, that he attempted to
subdue a reckless
driver when the other man spit on him and attacked him, kicking at him
and hitting him in the face.
An internal campus police investigation resulted
suspension without pay for five days in February before he was
Tanoos appealed, but the decision to fire him was
supported by a
university vice president and eventually by university President Lloyd
Benjamin on March 15, university memos show.
A support staff grievance appeals
committee, which conducted a
March 1 hearing, found only that Tanoos used faulty judgment during the
The chairman of the group, Don Bonsall,
wrote in a memo that the
committee upheld Tanoos' dismissal "under the narrow grounds that Mr.
Tanoos' behavior immediately before and during the altercation ...
represented poor judgment on his part, judgment that is not acceptable
in a police officer at Indiana State University."
ISU records indicate the complaint was
not the first filed against
Tanoos. In all, an estimated 17 complaints or concerns about
job-related conduct have been brought to the attention of police
supervisors since 1998, according to a letter to Tanoos from D. Thomas
Ramey, the university's vice president for student affairs.
Involved: James Cather and Scott Charleswood
4/26/2004 -- Saturday police
said two sheriff's deputies were legally drunk when they allegedly fled
the scene of a crash. Officers say that deputy James Carther hit another vehicle and
left the scene. The victim called police, and
officers also received another call from a motorist who followed the
deputies. Officers pulled over Carther where he was arrested for
operating a vehicle while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an
accident. Cather had a blood-alcohol level of .09 percent. Charles wood
was arrested for public intoxication.
Involved: Brian G. Lemond, 31
04/20/2004 -- Officer Brian G. Lemond was
sentenced to one year probation for D.U.I. Lemond was off duty, was
driving drunk in an unmarked police vehicle at about 100 mph.