Crime

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April 17, 2018, A traffic stop of Florida resident Steve Vann by former Jackson County Sheriff’s deputy Zachary Wester. Vann was subsequently charged with possession of methamphetamines and paraphernalia as a result of the traffic stop, but state prosecutors later dropped those charges as part of a review of more than 250 cases that Wester was involved in since his hiring in 2016.

State prosecutors have dropped criminal charges in more than 100 cases involving Wester after body cam footage released last September showed the officer allegedly planting drugs in a car during another traffic stop. A Florida judge also vacated the sentences of eight people whose convictions were based on evidence and testimony by Wester. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement launched an investigation into Wester, and several people have filed federal lawsuits against him.

In the body cam footage obtained by Reason of Vann’s arrest last year, Wester searches Vann’s truck after pulling him over for a traffic violation and appears to find a small plastic baggie in the vehicle’s center console.

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Parma, OH – A frenetic chain of events unfolded in Parma on Tuesday night when an officer and a vigilante converged on a suspect’s car, leading to shooting and police chase.

According to Parma Police, an officer pulled over a suspect, Shon Burton, 22, of Cleveland at Snowville Shopping Center for driving erratically and running a red light.
As Burton came to a stop, the vigilante, a concealed carry gun owner, driving a Jeep blocked the suspect’s car in an attempt to help the officer.

The suspect rammed the Jeep and nearly hit the officer, leading the gun owner to open fire on Burton.

Burton fled, later crashed his car at Brookpark and Tiedeman Roads, and was caught and arrested at a nearby Sam’s Club.

Officers discovered a loaded sawed-off shotgun in the area of where the Burton crashed.

The concerned citizen, who shot at Burton, was not charged.

He told police he feared for his life, and the officer’s, which prompted him to open fire as his Jeep was being rammed.

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A detention deputy was terminated for excessive use of force on an inmate at the Pinellas County Jail last September.

According to the Administrative Investigation Division, on Sept. 24, 2018, Deputy Aaron Hull was working as a detention deputy supervising an inmate housing unit.

Hull was verbally counseling a group of inmates who were creating a disturbance while the housing unit was in lockdown.

Investigators say 24-year-old Taylor Schuessler, an inmate confined to a wheelchair, verbally challenged Deputy Hull and the other inmates. Deputy Hull gave Schuessler verbal commands to stop his behavior, but he refused.

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Denver, CO – A United Airlines pilot accused of indecent exposure says he did not willfully expose himself when he stood naked at the window to his 10th-floor hotel room at the Denver International Airport.

The Denver Post reports 54-year-old Capt. Andrew Collins pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charge Wednesday in Denver County Court.

A police probable cause statement says Collins “knowingly and willfully” exposed his genitals to the general public at the Westin Hotel in September.

The Virginia man says he did not know people could see him when he opened the curtains to look at the landscape.

United Airlines spokeswoman Erin Benson said last month that the pilot had been suspended pending an internal review.

A trial has been scheduled for March.

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On March 10, 2018, around 3:30 a.m., Chattanooga police officer Benjamin Piazza pulled Fredrico Wolfe over for speeding, saw the 37-year-old toss a bag of drugs out of his passenger side window and ordered him out of the car at gunpoint. Though dash camera footage obtained by the Times Free Press shows Wolfe getting out with his hands raised and then putting them on the hood of his vehicle, Piazza said the 37-year-old was actively resisting and punched him about 10 times. Wolfe later admitted to smoking marijuana earlier in the night but told Piazza that he followed his orders and didn’t deserve the punching. His charges of resisting arrest, drug possession and tampering with evidence were sent on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019, to a Hamilton County grand jury. He is now being represented by Chattanooga attorney Robin Flores.

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The New Orleans Police Department today released footage from an officer’s body camera that shows what happened the night an officer fatally shot Zonell Williams in Treme.

The investigation is ongoing, but Chief Michael Harrison said the video supports the officer’s justifications for opening fire.

Officers responded to a 911 call in the 2300 block of Orleans of attempted suicide. An exchange of gunfire ensued and an officer was hit in the chest, but the bullets were stopped by a protective vest. Williams was hit multiple times and died at the hospital.

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Two young men in Las Vegas have been taken into custody after allegedly punching an Uber driver in the head and face.

Dashcam video captured the brutal beating last week.

The driver says he picked up both young men outside an apartment and immediately noticed something was off.

After realizing the passengers requested one rider through UberPool and that the two were underage, he canceled their request and asked to them leave the car. That’s when both young men began to lash out.

Police now say they have both juveniles in police custody and they are classifying this investigation as a battery case.

Officials have yet to reveal any details on the suspects.

As for the victim in this attack, he is back on the road but still scared.

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CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – A Clearwater man says three syringes removed during a strip search at the Pinellas County Jail do not belong to him.

Wesley Dasher Scott, 40, was arrested on a drug charge early Friday morning and was taken to the receiving area of the Pinellas County Jail.

While he was being strip searched, Scott removed three syringes from his rectum and gave them to a deputy, according to an arrest affidavit.

He allegedly told deputies that the syringes were not his.

Before he was transported to the jail, Scott was searched in a field where he was taken into custody. A deputy said he asked Scott if he had anything on him and if he knew what would happen if he brought anything hidden into the jail. The deputy said that Scott knew what the consequences would be.

Scott was charged with felony possession of contraband in a county detention facility, possession of drugs without a prescription with intent to sell, possession of marijuana, and possession of drugs without prescription.

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MARTIN COUNTY — A homeless man is accused of trying to cut his girlfriend’s legs with a box cutter while she was using the bathroom at a Jensen Beach Walgreens, as well as punching and grabbing her throat while she was driving.

Brett Goble, 25, was arrested on charges of felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and simple battery on Wednesday afternoon.

Martin County Sheriff’s Office deputies said they received a call about 12:30 p.m. about Goble hitting a woman at a Walgreens, at 4420 Northwest Federal Highway, and then running into a nearby wooded area.

Deputies said K-9 officers and a helicopter were sent to the area to look for Goble. A few hours later, deputies found Goble at the 10900 block of U.S. 1 in Port St. Lucie.

The woman told deputies while she was driving with Goble, the pair got into an argument and Goble punched her in the ribs and grabbed her throat.

The woman told deputies she then drove into the Walgreens parking lot and went into the bathroom. She said Goble followed her into the bathroom and tried to cut her legs with a box cutter under the bathroom stall and threatened to kill her.

Goble told deputies when they found him that he didn’t hit the woman and only followed her into the bathroom because he thought she was going to hurt herself.

Deputies arrested Goble and took him to the St. Lucie County Jail, where he remained Thursday afternoon on $7,500 bail.

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An armed man who led police in Pueblo on a cross-city chase following a domestic dispute early last year was shot over 30 times by eight officers who responded to the scene, according to a final report on the shooting released Thursday by the 10th Judicial District Critical Incident Team. In the 25-second clip, you can hear gunshots and yelling from officers when they confronted the suspect – who at that point had brandished a gun and fired multiple shots at officers.

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A woman was arrested after a customer told police he was hit in the face with a box of chicken during his visit to a KFC in Northwest Jacksonville, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

Officers were sent to the 53-year-old man’s home, where he told police he caught the confrontation on video. According to investigators, the clip showed the customer waiting on his order at the drive-thru window outside the KFC on Edgewood Avenue near the intersection of Avenue B.

Police said the customer was upset with the KFC employee for not wearing gloves while preparing food. After a back-and-forth verbal disagreement, the employee tossed the customer’s box of food, striking him in the face.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, an officer arrested Shade Renee Simmons, 30, while she was working at the KFC. Simmons was charged with battery.

FLORAL CITY, Fla. — A 75-year-old man was arrested Tuesday after deputies say he had been selling pounds of marijuana on a daily basis.

When serving a search warrant at the home of William Carlton Sr., deputies said they found more than a pound of marijuana, 20-gauge shotgun ammunition and more than $25,000 in cash inside Carlton’s bedroom.

Deputies say they also found a large wooden barn on the property with a pound and a half of marijuana and pieces of distribution equipment inside.

Because of the large amount of cash and marijuana on the property, deputies said they believe Carlton had been selling pounds of marijuana on a daily basis.

Carlton was arrested and charged with possession of cannabis with the intent to distribute, possession of ammunition by a convicted felon and possession of paraphernalia.

“Not only was William Carlton Sr. a convicted felon in violation of the law by possessing firearm ammunition, but he was an even greater threat to our community from his illegal drugs activity,” Sheriff Mike Prendergast said in a statement.

Prendergast said a growing number of drugs in Florida are laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opiate that can be fatal.

“No one could know if the next batch of marijuana that Carlton would sell contained this deadly substance until it is too late,” Prendergast said. “Fentanyl-laced marijuana is a real and growing concern. That’s why your Sheriff’s Office will never stop enforcing the law and combating the illegal drug activity to make Citrus County the safest community in Florida.”

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Yvelande Jean-Pierre eats a pre-made meal, leaves asparagus behind, police say

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. – Not sure which side of the line a South Florida woman falls on between ridiculously dumb and incredibly brave.

Not only did Yvelande Jean-Pierre, 29, think it would be wise to break into a Boynton Beach police station, but she topped it off by eating an officer’s lunch once she was inside.

And it wasn’t difficult to find the culprit as Jean-Pierre left her wallet and Florida ID in front of the station.

Upon entering the substation at 2210 S. Congress Drive on Jan. 3, two officers noticed a broken window in the kitchen area. Further inspection showed the culprit had used two recycling bins to climb up and break the glass to gain entry.

The officers then noticed the suspect had removed two pre-made meals from the station refrigerator and heated one of them in the microwave.

An officer who works out of the substation was contacted and confirmed the meals were his.

According to the police report, the purloined lunch was chicken and asparagus. And no, Jean-Pierre did not eat the vegetables as they were found next the microwave.

Officers found a plastic bag outside the station that contained Jean-Pierre’s personal information. She was later located and arrested on a charge of criminal mischief.

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Authorities in Alabama have arrested a veterinary student suspected of selling nearly 50 horses to meat-processing plants in Mexico.

Deputies with the Blount County Sheriff’s Office apprehended 24-year-old Fallon Blackwood at a local rodeo Saturday, four months after a grand jury returned a 13-count indictment charging the woman with bringing into the state property obtained by false pretense with the intent to defraud.

Blackwoofd, a senior majoring in veterinary medicine at Tuskegee University, is accused of offering owners to re-home older and ailing horses, and instead sold them to slaughterhouses in Mexico for meat.

The indictment lists 13 animals, but Lindsay Rosentrater, who turned over her beloved horse, Willie, to Blackwood in January 20018, said that nearly 50 missing horses have been linked to the veterinary student.

Blackwood was also arrested in early April on an outstanding warrant from North Carolina, where she was accused of tricking a man into giving her two horses, reported Fox 5 Atlanta.

According to multiple accounts posted on a Facebook page created by Rosentrater called Finding Willie, Blackwood would answer ads placed by people throughout the South seeking to sell their horses, saying that while she could not afford to buy the animals, she would be willing to house them on her 18-acre farm and care for them.

In many of the cases, including Rosentrater’s, Blackwood claimed she was looking for a retired horse to be a pasture companion for her racing horse.

The owners’ reasons for deciding to part with their geldings and mares varied, but most boiled down to financial difficulties, or failing health that prevented them from caring for their animals.

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Police are hunting a hit-and-run driver who attempted to mow down a group of teenagers after chasing them onto the pavement with his pick up truck in Portland, Oregon. The shocking footage was captured by CCTV cameras on Javier Gonzales’ house. He said he was shocked when he reviewed the footage. Police said they are looking for the driver of the silver or grey pick up truck.

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A Florida man is facing assault and battery charges after deputies say he attacked his neighbors with a machete that had the word “kindness” written on it.

Santa Rosa County deputies arrested 30-year-old Bryan Duane Stewart last week.

Neighbors told deputies they heard banging and yelling coming from the man’s house all Wednesday. Stewart was also overheard saying he was going to “kill ’em with kindness,” an arrest report says.

Just before midnight, one neighbor decided to go over and check on things and ask Stewart to keep it down. The man told deputies Stewart came running out of his front door with a machete-style knife that had the word “kindness” written on the blade.

Another neighbor who saw what was happening stepped in to protect the other man and ended up getting cut on his hand, deputies say.

Deputies responded to the scene and used a taser on Stewart to take him into custody.

The arrest report says Stewart told deputies he “didn’t understand what was even going on” and “was just trying to go to sleep.” The deputy who wrote the arrest report noted that Stewart had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, as well as bloodshot and watery eyes.

Deputies say Stewart also would not stop banging his head and kicking the inside of the patrol car after he was taken into custody.

Stewart was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

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Shade Renee Simmons, 30, charged with battery

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A woman was arrested after a customer told police he was hit in the face with a box of chicken during his visit to a KFC in Northwest Jacksonville, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

Officers were sent to the 53-year-old man’s home, where he told police he caught the confrontation on video. According to investigators, the clip showed the customer waiting on his order at the drive-thru window outside the KFC on Edgewood Avenue near the intersection of Avenue B.

Police said the customer was upset with the KFC employee for not wearing gloves while preparing food. After a back-and-forth verbal disagreement, the employee tossed the customer’s box of food, striking him in the face.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, an officer arrested Shade Renee Simmons, 30, while she was working at the KFC. Simmons was charged with battery.

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This is the shocking moment a middle-aged white man brutally punches a young black girl in the face in front of a horrified crowd of kids standing outside a shopping mall. The altercation involving 51-year-old David Steven Bell and the 11-year-old victim was captured on cellphone video around 7pm Saturday outside the Asheville Mall in North Carolina. Bell is seen in the footage bickering back and forth with the group of young girls. It’s unclear what transpired between Bell and the children before the video began. Bell was arrested after the incident and charged with assault on a female under the age of 12 and two counts of assault. He was booked to Buncombe County jail but released around 1am Sunday.

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The customer was allegedly being disruptive to staff and fellow patrons.

The incident took place at the McDonald’s location on Martin Luther King Drive in Chicago. The McDonald’s employee is seen punching the customer and then shoving him to the ground. Fox 32 reported that moments before the fight was recorded on amateur cell phone video, the customer was ‘cussing and begging the worker to fight him.’ The customer is seen slipping and falling down while the employee is wailing on him. As the customer is on his knees, the employee bends down toward him and begins to punch him repeatedly in the head.

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This dope got caught with dope — in a police department bathroom.

Florida man Samuel Alicea entered the Lakeland Police Department on Friday morning and went to a public bathroom, where an officer at the front desk reported hearing a loud thump.

Police tried to make contact but didn’t get an answer from the 35-year-old, and eventually found him unconscious lying on the floor after using a key to get inside.

Alicea was bleeding from the arm and had seemingly just injected himself using paraphernalia that was left on the sink.

He was taken to the hospital for treatment, and later charged with heroin and drug paraphernalia possession.

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MIAMI – A Miami woman is accused of stealing five expensive watches from a man she met at a nightclub before stashing them in her “vaginal area” and fighting with officers.

Delajurea Brookens, 29, is facing charges of grand theft, resisting an officer with violence, possession of cocaine, battery and criminal mischief.

According to an arrest report obtained by WTVJ, Brookens met a man at a Miami Beach nightclub before going back to his hotel. At one point, the man went to the bathroom and upon returning, noticed that a Crown Royal bag containing five Rolex watches was missing, the report said. The watches were estimated to be worth about $108,000.

Brookens then ran out of the room and the man followed in pursuit, the report said. He found her trying to get in a taxi and noticed one of his watches sticking out of her purse. A struggle reportedly ensued in which Brookens struck the man in the head with an object, causing him to fall to the ground.

The taxi driver called 911 as Brookens ran back to the hotel, the report said. Authorities found the woman in an alley next to the hotel.

Officers said Brookens was found with a small bag of white powder and the Crown Royal bag containing one of the watches. When they asked where the other four were at, she reportedly responded, “F*** off. I’m drunk.” Police said she was screaming and refusing to answer any questions.

According to the report, Brookens kicked, spit and bit officers as she was taken into custody. She later urinated on a bench in a holding cell without telling officers that she needed to use the restroom, the report said.

As Brookens was being processed through jail, police said she went through a metal detector that “showed items that were in her vaginal area.” A corrections sergeant searched Brookens and found the remaining four watches, according to the report.

Brookens remains held on $49,000 bond.

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KEY WEST, Fl. (FOX 5 Atlanta) – A Florida man is facing additional charges for doing something a bit gross in the back of a police car.

Key West deputies arrested 37-year-old Melvin Stubbs for possession of cocaine on Thursday, after deputies say they discovered 40 grams of the drug on his person.

On his way to jail, deputies say Stubbs “chewed up or ate” the seat of the patrol car.

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A Florence Police Department officer that was involved in a shooting last summer has been cleared after two investigations.

According to a press release on Thursday, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and FPD both conducted an investigation after Officer Thomas Herman was involved in a shooting on July 14, 2018.

The release says the Twelfth Judicial Circuit Solicitor has completed a review of the officer-involved shooting which occurred at 2671 Hospitality Blvd., and has cleared the officer involved.

The incident happened at 12:22 p.m. when officers were dispatched to the Hilton Garden Inn on Hospitality Boulevard regarding a person who was waving around a gun.
Herman was the first officer on scene and made contact with the person who called for assistance. While Officer Herman was speaking with this person, Jethro Benjamin appeared on scene with a handgun.

It is said in the release that Herman told Benjamin to get on the ground and Benjamin hid behind a vehicle. Benjamin then fired at Herman and Herman returned fire as he sought cover, according to police.

“A brief volley of gunfire” was exchanged and Benjamin was wounded. Herman and two other responding officers secured the scene and positioned Benjamin on his side to aid in his breathing until an ambulance arrived.

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The Lafayette Police Department released the body cam video from the officer who accidentally shot a fellow officer in the back while serving a warrant earlier this week.

The police review board has determined that the shooting was accidental.

The department said Lane Butler, a three-year veteran of the department, remains in serious, but stable, condition at Franciscan Health Lafayette East.

Police said Butler was shot in the back after another officer accidentally discharged his weapon when a dog jumped on him during a criminal mischief investigation.