Police News

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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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Dramatic dashcam and bodycam video out of Texas shows a pickup burst into flames after a suspected drunk driver crashed into it. Police officers ran to the burning truck to save an innocent woman trapped inside. As burning fuel poured out of the truck, officers tried to break the driver’s side window and pulled out fire extinguishers to try to put out the flames. A short time later, the woman woke up, screaming in pain. She suffered internal injuries.

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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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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.

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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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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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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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.

The leader of an international child porn ring was killed in a prison beating this week after one of his victims predicted his fate. Fellow inmates at the federal prison in Milan, Michigan, where Maire was locked up, attacked him Friday, according to the outlet. Maire died at a hospital several hours later. The prison melee left four injured, including two guards. At least one of the attackers was armed with a homemade knife.

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The Florida Highway Patrol has released dramatic video of a crash involving a driver who slammed into the back of a trooper’s patrol car while he was pulled over on the side of the road.

Trooper Richard Verbiest stopped his Chevrolet SUV with emergency lights activated behind a disabled motorist on the inside paved shoulder of southbound I-75 at mile marker 134 in Lee County.

Moments later, a 2012 Mazda, driven by Fernando Xavier Espinoza, 35 of Fort Myers, was traveling southbound on I-75 when he swerved his car to avoid slowing traffic. He struck the guardrail and the back end of the stopped FHP vehicle, and then his engine caught on fire.

Espinoza was seriously hurt. Trooper Verbiest suffered a minor injury but was able to get out of his damaged SUV and pull Espinoza from the burning Mazda.

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Volusia County sheriff’s deputies interrupted a carjacking in progress Tuesday evening and took the suspect into custody after he embarked on a brief crime spree in northwest Volusia County.

At this hour, sheriff’s detectives are interviewing the suspect, 34-year-old Anthony Gunther (DOB 1/16/1984) to determine all his charges and if he has any involvement in any other crimes.

The series of events began around 4:04 p.m. in Seville, where deputies responded to an attempted car break-in at 795 Bunnell Road. The victim at that address spotted the suspect trying to break into a vehicle. The victim fired a gunshot to scare off the suspect, who fled in a red sports utility vehicle.

A few minutes later, around 4:11 p.m., deputies responded to a call about another incident (a vandalism call that turned out to be a car break-in progress) at the Kangaroo gas station in Seville. The suspect fled that incident in a red SUV.

A few minutes after that, around 4:37 p.m., deputies responded to a call about a stolen white Jaguar at 221 N. Center Road in Pierson. The suspect description was similar to that in the initial car break call, and the suspect left behind a red SUV when he took the Jaguar. The VCSO helicopter, Air One, soon spotted the stolen Jaguar driving down a road in Pierson.

Twice, deputies on the ground were successful in deploying stop sticks on the stolen vehicle as it drove through the area, but the suspect kept driving until he bailed out of the car near the intersection of County Road 3 and State Road 40. There, Gunther tried to carjack a victim in a black Ford F-150, but deputies were closing in on him. A deputy deployed a Taser on Gunther to stop the carjacking, and Gunther was taken into custody.

There were no injuries reported. The red SUV used by Gunther was reported stolen out of Holly Hill earlier this afternoon.

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Former Springfield police officer charged with beating a man in February may have allowed rough times off the clock to spill over to patrol duties, according to internal affairs records. Terminated by the city on May 9, Samuel Rosario faces charges of official misconduct and battery in connection with the beating of Robert Humes, whom the former officer challenged to a fight while responding to a call at Humes’ east side home.

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Atlanta Police released surveillance video Friday that shows the moments before a northwest Atlanta homeowner was shot and killed last month.

Jeremie Charles died on Dec. 3, 2018, after being shot by two men in the 1900 block of Main Street, Atlanta police said.

The video appears to show Charles and a man talking to each other before a fight between the two breaks out. Charles appears to be holding a gun, but no shots are fired as the two struggle for it.

A third man standing a few feet away then pulls out a handgun, points it at Charles and shoots him, police said. The video cuts off before a shot is fired, and it’s unknown how many shots were fired.

Spencer Douglas Henry, 50, of Decatur, was arrested 10 days later, and police believe he drove the two suspects seen in the video to and from the scene in a black Dodge truck.

Henry faces charges of felony murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of a felony, according to Fulton County Jail records. He remains in jail without bond.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office detective was fired after law enforcement said he showed up to a homicide investigation under the influence of alcohol.

Investigators said George D. Moffett Jr., 48, was off duty Thursday when he responded to a deadly shooting on Gandy Boulevard in an unmarked Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office vehicle.

Patrol deputies said Moffett appeared intoxicated when he got out of the car. He had bloodshot and glassy eyes, slurred speech and smelled like an alcoholic beverage, according to deputies.

Moffett admitted he had had several drinks with Crown Royal liquor in them before he headed to the scene, according to law enforcement.

Investigators said Moffett agreed to do field sobriety tests, and he performed poorly on the tests.

Moffett submitted to a breath sample which indicated he had a BrAC of .129/.134, which is well above the legal limit of .08 percent, deputies said.

Moffett was hired by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office on March 20, 2006.

According to a court document, he was the lead detective on the Michael Drejka case, which gained national attention and reignited the debate over Florida’s controversial stand your ground law.

The sheriff’s office reported Moffett was previously convicted of DUI in October 1995, 11 years before he was employed by them.

Consistent with Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office’s policy regarding members arrested for DUI, Moffett’s employment was immediately terminated following his arrest.

A search is under way for the driver and passenger involved in a hit and run crash in Oakland, that left a 14 year old boy in critical condition. That boy was riding his bike near the Fruitvale BART station at around 12:30pm Wednesday when a car slammed into him and dragged him for almost four blocks. This cell phone video shows the man and woman allegedly involved get out of that gold Honda Accord and switch places before eventually driving off…leaving that injured boy in the middle of the street.

Investigators later found the car involved in this crash, abandoned nearby. Now police are urging the man and woman involved in this hit and run to do the right thing and turn themselves in. There is a $5,000 reward being offered for information in this case. If you know anything, please put in a call to the Oakland Police Department.

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Cleveland, OH – An armed man opened fire inside of a gas station convenience store, sending more than a dozen customers running for their lives.

It happened just after 3 a.m. Saturday inside Hanini Gas Station at the corner of Woodland Avenue and East 55th Street in Cleveland. Surveillance video captured the entire terrifying ordeal.

More than a dozen customers were waiting in line for food at the counter when three men began to exchange words near the front door.

One of the men suddenly pulled out a gun and shot the other two men. At one point the shooter stepped outside, returned with an even bigger weapon and continued firing.

An 36-year-old female, an innocent bystander, was caught in the gunfire and shot in the knees. She told Cleveland police that, “someone drug her to the back wall, away from the scene.”

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An Oregon man has been arrested for trying to steal a bike that was chained up just outside a police station. Surveillance cameras captured 26-year-old Adam Valle cutting the lock off the bike with a pair of bolt cutters on December 27 outside the Gladstone Police Department. Police said two officers were inside watching the security cameras when Valle approached wearing a mask. He could be seen removing the bolt cutters from a plastic bag before cutting the lock. Valle was confronted by one of the officers who was armed with a taser.