Judicial Crooks - SCUM OF THE EARTH
Domestic violence: IPD's Secret Shame
Aired March 5, 1998
For IPD, the call goes out an alarming 78 times a day, on average. A woman beaten, a front porch fight, a family broken. Domestic disturbances, police say, are among the most frequent calls they receive. But what's not widely reported, is that some of the incidents involve their own. And all too often, IPD protects its own, while victims are left to fend for themselves. "I saw it personally, I saw the fear." Carlene Richardson has protected domestic violence victims for 16 years at the Julian Center, a shelter for battered women. Carlene remembers one IPD spouse shaking with fear. "She said that she would never call the police because they would be people he knew, and they wouldn't do anything to help her." An Eyewitness News investigation has found there are more women like her. We reviewed six years of disciplinary records from IPD. Here's what we found. Twelve current officers have domestic disturbance complaints in their files, as did six former officers. And sources tell us there are at least eight others with similar histories. And those 26 cops are likely not the only ones. "Absolutely, I think it's very low." Ann DeLaney, Executive Director of the Julian Center, says national studies indicate domestic violence is sadly underreported, especially when it's a cop. "United Way this year cited a study that the incidents of domestic violence among police officers is substantially higher than among the general population. In fact, that's what the Detroit chief of police said last year." Whatever the true number, the reports we do have show a tendency to shield the abusive officer. There's one about an officer who struck his estranged wife in the head outside a bar. He got a two-day suspension. Another current officer violated a court-issued protective order. He had to be restrained as he lunged at his estranged wife. It was his second domestic abuse complaint, so IPD gave him ten days off, an order for counseling and a warning -- do it a third time and you might be fired. Another report says an officer was involved in so many domestic disturbances that his home was on the sheriff's list of dangerous residences. The officer was fired only after he shot himself during one of those incidents, a violation of the department's gun policy. And Officer Jamal Abdullah admitted striking his wife, according to the records. He received a 90-day suspension and went through a court-ordered diversion program. He told us: "That's behind me now sir, life goes on." But for victims, it's not that simple. "I've seen some women, and they felt like if they could just drop off the side of the earth, they would," says Richardson. "Domestic violence is a much wider problem than it's reported. I feel, not only in law enforcement, but in society in particular." IPD Chief Michael Zunk took office in January 1997 after most of these incidents occurred. Even Zunk admits peer pressure is a factor when a cop is involved. "The other policemen that are friends of the family, you know, I'm sure will put pressure on them saying, 'Do you want to cost, you want to cost? I mean, he's going to lose his job over this if you file domestic battery on him." But the chief says those officers should be arrested. And what if an arrest can't be made? Says Zunk: "We investigate very thorough, and if there's enough evidence to prove there was domestic battery, then yeah, we need to look at termination." But the department hasn't always been that vigilant. When it comes to domestic violence, IPD has swept some cases under the rug. Consider what happened just 18 months ago. The wife of a 14-year IPD veteran was taken to the hospital for X-rays. The report states the officer 'reacted defensively' when he slapped her across the face. That wording raises red flags. DeLaney explains, "The wife of the officer is made to look as if she's responsible for the assault." And there's more to this case. The wife signed a document called a 'notice of request not to participate in criminal prosecution.' Chief Zunk says that is an unauthorized form, and both he and the prosecutor call it intimidating. "If these forms are out there, they shouldn't be, and I'll request that they be taken off the street if they are." Other aspects of this case angered Prosecutor Scott Newman as well. Newman said the investigating officer never spoke with the victim and couldn't even recall her name. "The most troubling thing about this case was that the prosecutor's office would never have known about it if we weren't tipped to it." Newman fired off a letter to IPD internal affairs, complaining of 'deliberate omissions and misstatements.' The officer, by the way, received a written reprimand and an order for counseling. While IPD has preferred to keep domestic violence quiet when it comes to its own family, a new federal law makes that more difficult. It bars convicted domestic violence offenders from carrying a gun, and without a gun, cops can't do their job. Chief Zunk supports the law. But the Fraternal Order of Police is challenging it, in the case of Officer Jerald Gillespie -- the only IPD officer convicted of domestic violence. The FOP did not return our calls, but in a federal lawsuit, it argues the law should not apply to past actions. DeLaney says IPD is stuck in the past. "We're getting close to the 21st century here, and I think it's fair to say that IPD is being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 19th as far as their attitude toward domestic violence is concerned." Newman adds, "IPD has not yet adopted a consistent, firm procedure in domestic violence cases involving their own, and we have seen problems as a result." In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
SACRAMENTO----State agents helped "poison the public" by giving drug dealers huge amounts of the key ingredient to produce methamphetamine and failing to recover it, a judge said Friday. During a sting operation targeting a pair of drug manufactures in 1995, the narcotics agents committed crimes that would justify life in prison "if they did not have badges, "US District Judge Lawrence Karlton said. "How many people got started on meth who wouldn t have if not for the conduct of these agents?" the judge asked. "There may be some child out there who s dead because of what went on." Karlton s comments came at the end of a hearing in which defense lawyers charged that state Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement agents posing as suppliers provided the drug dealers with enough ephedrine to produce 66 pounds of methamphetamine between August and October 1995. The lawyers contended that most of the drugs were never recovered, and instead ended up on the streets to be inhaled, injected and consumed by addicts. Karlton must decide whether the tactics of agents and their superiors justifies dropping charges against Michael and Erwin Spruth, described as two of the biggest methamphetamine producers in Northern California. "This is an appalling situation, "the judge said at the hearing requested by lawyers for the men and their accomplice, John Roger Rowley. While the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement s conduct in the case was "reprehensible," Karlton said, allowing the drug dealers back on the streets "would be a very serious consequence. He said he would rule o the matter later. A spokesman for state Attorney General Dan Lungren said the Department of Justice stands firmly behind the agents and the investigation, which won honors and is considered a "textbook" example of how such cases should be handled. "We hope the judge holds the criminals in as much disdain as he apparently does these fine agents," spokesman Rob Stutzman said. The Spruth and Rowley were arrested and indicted after a raid on a methamphetamine lab in Cottonwood in October 1995. They have previous drug records and face life in prison if convicted on all charges. But the conduct of the drug agents may be their ticket to freedom. Defense lawyers argue that government agents put the men back in business after they got out of prison by supplying them with more than 100 pounds of scarce ephedrine over a period of about three months. The agents failed to diligently trace the chemicals, which ultimately were used to manufacture "crank" that was sold on the street, according to the attorneys. More than 100,000 doses of methamphetamine may have been produce by the ephedrine given to Rowley by Special Agent Joseph Diaz, who posed as a supplier, said Assistant Federal Defender Michael Kennedy. Agents testified under questioning by Kennedy and Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy Simpson that they did everything possible to keep track of the chemicals while homing in on the lab site operated by the Spruths. Simpson said agents in the Spruth case followed the bureau s regulations, which allow for "precursors" such as ephedrine to be furnished to criminal suspects during clandestine laboratory investigations. The amount varies depending on the case, but should be "sufficient to demonstrate that the lab operator is a major violator, the regulations state. Chemicals, including ephedrine, "should never be used in a manner in which they may chemically expose the public." According to the policy. If they are released, "every effort" should be made to track them to their destination and identify a lab site. "This was a very controlled operation," said Special Agent Supervisor Daniel Largent of the agency s " Redding office. ""I just didn t get out there with my guys and throw ephedrine around." Largent and others described the Spruths as some of the most notorious and prolific methamphetamine manufactures in the north state, and said they believed the chance of bringing them down was worth the risk they were taking in supplying them with ephedrine. "We do our level best to recover all of the methamphetamine in these situations, "said Largent. "But it doesn t always happen." The agents said they were uncertain how much of the ephedrine they supplied to the men actually hit the streets in the form of methamphetamine. But testimony strongly suggests at least half of it did, Karlton concluded. Karlton asked Diaz why agents continued supplying ephedrine to the men over three months while getting very little methamphetamine in return. "You guys are out there, clearly aiding and abetting the creation of methamphetamine,". He said. "You have concerns about it creating havoc in the community. Why didn t you try to get it back?" Diaz said agents did try to trade for methamphetamine. "But we were afraid that if we did not continue negotiating, we would be cut off and they would find another source," blowing a major investigation that had consumed them for months. Karlton said he was deeply troubled by the case. "Should the fact that these agents contributed to the poisoning of the public mean that your clients ought to benefit?" he asked Kennedy. "Doesn t it seem utterly bizarre that these guys are rewarded because the agents used bad judgment?" Kennedy acknowledged that his clients "do not deserve" to be set free, but argued that the judge must consider the larger issue of government conduct. A judgment in favor of the agents would send a message that "the end always justifies the means," he said.
N.Y. Parole Board Member Indicted
The Associated Press
By MARC HUMBERT
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- A Parole Board member was indicted Thursday in a federal investigation into whether donors were told their relatives could get favorable treatment before the board in return for contributions to Gov. George Pataki. Sean McSherry faces up to 45 years and $2 million in fines if convicted of obstruction of justice, six counts of perjury and one count of making a false statement. He pleaded innocent and was released on $15,000 bail. U.S. Attorney Zachary Carter said McSherry, 46, repeatedly lied to a grand jury and police investigating the release of armed robber John Kim. McSherry was the lead official on a three-member parole board panel that met with Kim in prison April 16, 1996. The board unanimously ordered Kim's release later that day. The release came a year after Kim's father, the Rev. Nam Soo Kim, arranged for $1,000 to be donated to the Pataki campaign. Aides to Pataki have denied selling parole favors for political contributions. Pataki, a Republican, declined to comment because he had not seen the document. His campaign spokesman, Michael Marr, said that ``with just over three weeks to go before the election, the timing of this certainly smacks of politics.'' McSherry was appointed to the 19-member state parole board in 1989 by then- Gov. Mario Cuomo, a Democrat, and reappointed in 1994 until June 2000. McSherry has been on medical leave since Sept. 17. A call to McSherry's lawyer was not immediately returned. McSherry is an enrolled member of the pro-Pataki state Conservative Party, and a close friend of party Chairman Michael Long. ``He is a good guy and there is no way he could be involved in any criminal activity,'' Long said.
The Associated Press
By ALEXIS CHIU
BOSTON (AP) -- A man convicted in a 1991 street shooting says the victim went on to become a prison guard and tormented him behind bars. So inmate Zeferino DePina sued the guard, Filipe Monteiro, the state Correction Department and 17 other prison employees, claiming they did nothing to stop the harassment from a man bent on revenge. The federal lawsuit went to a jury Wednesday after DePina testified that one high-ranking prison official told him: ``I don't know what you expect. You shot the guy in the head.'' The inmate is seeking unspecified damages on grounds that include assault, emotional distress and deprivation of his rights. DePina, 24, said he was twice attacked by Monteiro. He said the attacks included a 1996 incident in a shower room, where the guard punched him in the head and repeatedly threatened to kill him. Monteiro filed false disciplinary reports that got DePina transferred to a punishment unit, then transferred there himself, where the harassment continued until the guard was reassigned, the lawsuit said. Monteiro flipped DePina's cell lights on and off during the night and kicked his door to prevent him from sleeping, according to the suit. Seven years ago, DePina shot Monteiro on a street in Boston's rough Roxbury section. He claimed Monteiro and a group of friends had bullied him and tried to take his motorcycle. He pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced to four to 12 years in the state's maximum-security prison in Walpole. He first encountered his victim there in mid-1992. But this time Monteiro was wearing a guard's uniform. DePina said Monteiro once confronted him, saying, ``Why did you have to shoot me?'' The inmate said he replied, ``It's over and done with. You go your way and I'll go mine -- I don't want any problems.''
Jury Awards Damages to Inmate
The Associated Press
By ALEXIS CHIU
BOSTON (AP) -- A federal jury today awarded $37,500 to an inmate serving time for shooting a man in the head, agreeing he had been harassed by his victim, who became a guard at the prison a year after being shot. Zeferino DePina said Filipe Monteiro had beaten him in the Walpole state prison because DePina had shot him. DePina also claimed the prison did nothing to stop the abuse. The largest finding, $25,000, was against prison superintendent Ronald Duval. Phillip Harrington, director of the disciplinary unit, was ordered to pay $5,000. The jury found that the two have been ``deliberately, recklessly or callously indifferent'' to a risk of serious harm to DePina. The panel found Monteiro had intentionally inflicted emotional distress on DePina. It awarded DePina only $1 for compensatory damages on that finding. It also found Monteiro and another officer used excessive force in the prison's shower room in April 1996. Jurors awarded DePina $1 for his physical injuries and $1 in compensatory damages for his emotional injuries. In punitive damages for the shower room incident, jurors ordered Monteiro to pay $5,000 and the other officer, John Faulkner, to pay $2,500. DePina testified that Harrington told him: ``I don't know what you expect; you shot the guy in the head.'' Fourteen other prison employees who were sued were not held to be liable for damages. The case started in 1991, when DePina, now 24, met up with Monteiro on a street in Boston's Roxbury section. DePina admitted he shot Monteiro but said Monteiro and a large group of friends had bullied him and tried to take his motorcycle. He pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced in March 1992 to serve four to 12 years at Walpole. According to records in U.S. District Court, Monteiro began working for the Department of Correction in July 1992 and, a month later, was stationed at the prison. The suit claimed Monteiro immediately began ``a pattern of abuse of his position ... that resulted in a series of assaults, uses of excessive force, verbal and physical harassment and filing of false disciplinary reports.'' DePina said he initially was intimidated when Monteiro stared at him and later confronted him, saying, ``Why did you have to shoot me?'' The inmate said he replied, ``It's over and done with. You go your way and I'll go mine -- I don't want any problems.'' But the problems only multiplied, according to the lawsuit. DePina claimed the guard filed false disciplinary reports that resulted in a transfer to a prison punishment unit. Monteiro also transferred to the unit, and soon began flipping DePina's cell lights on and off during the night and kicking his door to prevent him from sleeping, the suit claimed. DePina also alleged Monteiro attacked him twice, including the shower incident when he says the guard punched him in the head and repeatedly threatened to kill him. DePina testified last week that he believed his life was in danger, and that the abuse continued until Monteiro was transferred to another prison in July 1996. Under cross-examination, however, DePina also admitted being involved in other disciplinary incidents that did not involve Monteiro.