Monday, June 27, 2011

Arizona Cardinal Darnell Dockett Will Never Let the Police Search His Car Without a Warrant. Never

Darnell Dockett, the Arizona Cardinals oft out-tweeted defensive lineman, apparently was pulled over by police this morning. It seems they wanted to search his car. They must not have known that cops never search Darnell Dockett's car without a warrant. Never.

Dockett, well-known for landing himself in trouble in Twitter-town (lest we forget the scandalous shower pics), "tweeted" 11 times during the traffic stop, the majority of which were 140-character vignettes about how he feels about warrant-less police searches.

We'll reiterate: Darnell Dockett never lets cops search his car without a warrant. Never.

See Dockett's Twitter rant below.

-I don't know why the police always messing w/me I'm never gonna let them search my car with out a search warrant! No matter what! about 3 hours ago via UberSocial

-Police sitting here waiting on back up cuz I told them YOU NOT SEARCHING MY CAR! PERIOD! & now I'm sitting here! Owell I aint got shit 2 do!

-There R 3police cars and they are talking! I don't see A search warrant they won't see inside this escalade! I got all day hope they don't!

-Police said "do you mind if we look around in your Vehicle?" I said I sure DO! He said "I'm gonna call back up" I said u wanna use my phone?

-I think they (POLICE) going to get a search warrant cuz they sitting here looking like fools waiting on something!

-These COPS really think I'm stupid they playing good cop bad cop! BOY STOOOOP! I'm not falling for that! NO SIR YOU WILL NOT LOOK IN MY CAR!

-This cop just ask me how tall R u & where R U from! I'm bout to ask him can I go across the street to POPEYS while we sitting here waiting!

-I been sitting here for a HOUR 1cop by the driver window, 2talking at the car! And the 1by the window being friendly! Like wtf?

-I asked the cop why he pulled me over he said I was speeding I said BULLSHIT! But give me the ticket that's when he asked to search my car!

-So you gonna lie and say I'm speeding then you wanna search my car! Get the F*ck ouutta here! Better go get a warrant *turns up radio*

-OK so now I think they letting me Go cop just brought my DL's and registration! Yeah I'm bout to be out this MOFO!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mistaken Identity Leads to Police Beat Down of Phoenix Man, Complaint Alleges

A Phoenix man is suing the City of Phoenix, former Phoenix police Chief Jack Harris, and several others over a beating he says he received from two Phoenix police officers who initially mistook him for a drug dealer they'd previously arrested.

According to the suit, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court on Monday, Phoenix resident Terry Daniels was riding his bike north on 11th Avenue approaching West Grand Street about 9:30 p.m. on July 1 of last year.

Two Phoenix police officers, Corey Shibata and Jason Hamernick, were driving down 11th Avenue when they noticed Daniels.

The two officers mistook Daniels for Todd Richardson Sr., a suspected drug dealer the two had arrested the previous year.

The officers stopped to talk with the man they thought was Richardson, realized it wasn't him, and that's where things get a little confusing.

In a police report the officers filed after arresting Daniels, they claim that when they confronted him, his arms were "shaking uncontrollably" and they suspected he was having a drug overdose.

When the officers exited their cruiser to talk with Daniels, they say he pulled a six-inch knife out of his pocket. The officers pulled their guns as the knife-wielding Daniels tried to hide a telephone pole, the officers wrote in their report.

After a brief standoff, the officers note that Daniels dropped the knife and went to his knees. When Hammernick kicked the knife away, the officers say Daniels got up and tried to run.

He was tackled by the cops and roughed up a little bit -- the officers note four to six "knee strikes" to Daniels's upper thigh by Hammernick, while Shibata delivered an additional six to eight "knee strikes."

However, a witness to the beating gives a much different account.

Richard Pinkney watched the beating as he was waiting for a bus at the corner of Grand Street and 11th Avenue. He signed a statement stating the following:

"The officers approached the black man [Daniels] from behind near the center of 11th Avenue, near the north curb line of Grant. The two officers began striking the black man while he was still standing. The black man went to the roadway and assumed a fetal position. The two officers continued striking him and kicking him. Though I could not see what, if anything, was in the hands of the officers, they appeared to be striking him with something other than their fists based on the movement of their arms.

In addition, they were striking him with their fists and kicking him. The officers then drug the black man to the northeast corner of l lth Avenue and Grant where they remained until emergency medical personnel arrived."

In his lawsuit, Daniels claims the officers covered up the details of the attack on Daniels and conspired to present a false description of events in order to evade responsibility for the attack.

Daniels' injuries don't exactly reflect a few "knee strikes" to the thigh, either.

Daniels was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital where he was diagnosed with a brain hemorrhage, a fracture to his left eye socket, six fractured ribs, fractures in his lower back, and bruises along his head, face, arrns, sides and stomach. His left eye was swollen shut.

Daniels is requesting a jury trial where he "respectfully prays" for general and specific damages in an amount to be proven at trial, punitive damages, and other relief the court deems appropriate.

See a copy of the complaint here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fabian Cota, Mesa Police Union Official, Reportedly Tells San Diego Cops: "Take Me to Jail ... Dickweeds!"

A San Diego police report shows that Fabian Cota, president of the Mesa Police Association, was trying to protect the honor of a female friend before being handcuffed and hauled off to a drunk tank.

Cota, who's currently on disciplinary probation with Mesa PD, as we reported earlier today, presented a danger to himself or others because he was so wasted, the report states. The cop-on-cop fun began when two of San Diego's finest happened to pull up behind a human-powered "pedi-cab" and noticed two obviously inebriated women stumble out. One of them walked up to a car, keys in hand, slurring her words as she spoke to two men in the pedi-cab.

"You're not going to drive, are you?" one of the cops asked the woman. That was the plan, she informed him. The two cops intervened and asked the pedi-cab to move along.

That's when Cota, one of the pedi-cab riders, spoke up. He became argumentative and accused the officers of harassing the woman:

"Why are you being such dickweeds to her?" he inquired of the cops, according to the report.

The cop talking to the woman who wanted to drive had to repeat himself several times to be heard over Cota's yelling, even though Cota was 20 feet away, the report states.

"I told Cota to leave because he was intoxicated and would end up in jail if he stayed," Officer Justin Mattly wrote in his report. "Cota said, 'Well take me to jail you fucking dickweeds!"

Cota was asked to step out of the pedi-cab. He told the officers he wanted to find his car so he could leave, the report says. Mattly told him he was too drunk to drive, slapped on some cuffs and drove Cota to "detox." On the way, Cota told the officer he'd intended to drive back to his hotel.

"I asked Cota what hotel he was staying at and he could not remember," Mattly wrote.

At the detox station, a drunk-tank facility, Cota asked to speak to supervisors. He also passed out three times -- once on the way to detox and twice while at the facility, says the report.

San Diego Detective Gary Hassen told New Times earlier today that people taken into custody for public intoxication are often allowed to sober up at the detox station rather than face criminal charges. After a mandatory four-hour stay in the facility, Cota was allowed to leave without further problem and won't be charged.

As our previous blog post mentioned, though, Cota's been assigned to administrative duties in lieu of a possible internal investigation.

This is one hangover sure to leave a lingering headache.

MCSO Infiltration by Mexican Drug Cartel Apparently a Touchy Subject for Joe Arpaio

Don't mention how the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office was infiltrated by a Mexican drug cartel to Sheriff Joe Arpaio -- unless, of course, you want to watch him hijack a press conference, go off about a few "bad apples," and take a shot at the Phoenix Police Department.

Arpaio -- along with Phoenix Police Chief Joseph Yahner, Department of Public Safety Director Robert Halliday, and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery -- announced today that a "multi-agency probe" has led to the arrests of more than 60 prison gang members.

Few details of "Operation Wolf Pack" were offered at a press conference at the County Attorney's Office this afternoon -- it was more a forum for local law enforcement agencies to gush over each other and praise themselves for the inter-agency cooperation.

Arpaio, however, got a little chippy when we asked Yahner if he feels comfortable working so closely with the MCSO, ya know, considering a deputy and two detention officers recently were arrested for -- among other things -- providing information about the agency's anti-smuggling efforts to cartel leaders.

Read about the drug cartel infiltration of the MCSO here.

Yahner's response: "Absolutely" he feels comfortable working with the sheriff, who has been under investigation by the federal government for other alleged corruption for nearly three years.

The press conference would have been over at that point -- assuming Arpaio hadn't darted back to the lectern to respond to the question, which wasn't even directed at him.

The sheriff groaned about how every organization has a "few bad apples" and that he tells all of his detention officers that they're not guards -- he "hates" the term guards, he grumbled -- rather, they're intelligence officers.

In the case of at least two female detention officers, the sheriff's message seems to have sunk in -- the only problem was that they were allegedly giving that "intelligence" to the drug "kingpin" baby-daddy of one of the women, not the MCSO.

Then, inexplicably, Arpaio took a little shot at the PPD.

After moaning about how New Times never questions the "bad apples" in the Phoenix PD (which we do; click here for exhibit A), Arpaio was quick to point out, "They've had a few problems, too."

They sure have -- but the PPD hasn't been under investigation by the federal government for nearly three years for, among many other things, misspending nearly $100 million in taxpayer money.

And, speaking of "bad apples"...

Not to mention Arpaio himself, the MCSO can boast fired second-in-command, Chief Deputy David Hendershott, a focus of the federal inquiry; fired Deputy Chief Larry Black, and Captain Joel Fox, the two who ran the discredited Sheriff's Command Association that illegally financed a sleazy campaign ad targeting Arpaio's opponent in the last two elections, Dan Saban. Because Fox and Black apparently were having a love affair, Fox looks to have protected Black from scrutiny in the SCA debacle.

Maricopa County likely to pay $650,000 over deadly Phoenix pursuit

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday almost certainly will agree to pay $650,000 to the family of a 33-year-old man killed during a September 2007 pursuit in north Phoenix by sheriff's deputies.

The victim's family claimed sheriff's deputies acted negligently by pursuing a car that hit and killed Salvador Cereceres Herrera, during the pursuit.

A March 2008 notice of claim filed against Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the Board of Supervisors and the county's Risk Management Department alleged deputies violated the sheriff's pursuit policy when they chased the car at high speeds in north Phoenix after its 15-year-old driver refused to stop. According to the claim, Cereceres Herrera was killed after the driver ran a red light while being "pursued recklessly and in violation of law at high speeds by" Deputy Ronald Frieberg. The claim asserts that Deputy Kelly Bocardo, who was in training at the time, was also negligent by failing to provide critical information to her supervisor so he or she could manage the pursuit.

Sheriff's Deputy Chief Jack MacIntyre acknowledged to The Arizona Republic that deputies violated the agency's pursuit policy but said, "The deviation was small - and that was in that brief few-minute pursuit, they did not fully inform the sergeant so the sergeant can call them off. But that's Monday morning quarterbacking - especially when they're pursuing someone at night who appears to be a threat to the community."

MacIntyre said the 15-year-old was on probation, was driving a stolen vehicle and had alcohol and drugs in his system. After the pursuit, he was convicted of second-degree murder, MacIntyre said. "He was in fact was driving recklessly and Mr. Cereceres left a mother and father and an 8-year-old daughter that he was very close to," he said.

Cereceres Hererra's daughter and parents initially asked for $2 million to settle the case.

The proposed settlement appears on the supervisors' formal agenda for Wednesday, and it would be rare for the board to reject such a payout.

The Risk Management Department did not respond to requests for comment.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mesa police union president detained in alcohol incident

Mesa Police Association President Sgt. Fabian Cota is the subject of an investigation after being detained early Saturday by San Diego police on a charge of disorderly conduct involving alcohol.

Cota, a 26-year police veteran, was not arrested but was "detained by the San Diego Police Department and was taken to detox and released from there," said Detective Gary Hassen, a San Diego police spokesman.

Mesa police officials learned of the incident Saturday morning, said Sgt. Ed Wessing, a Mesa police spokesman. By Monday, Cota was "assigned to an administrative function, while we pursue an internal investigation."

Initially, Mesa police officials were told Cota was arrested, but later learned he was detained, processed and held in detox. California law allows people to be held for at least four hours and released without charges after sobering up.

Cota makes $88,420 per year as a sergeant and $12,000 per year as union president. Cota also serves as vice president of the Arizona Police Association and did not return messages seeking comment.

Mesa police's investigation will determine whether Cota violated any department code-of-conduct policies.

Kevin Christopher, a city spokesman, said the City Manager's Office is allowing the Police Department to handle an investigation into the matter.

It's unclear how the incident will affect his position as leader of Mesa's police union. MPA officials were not immediately available for comment.

Cota's brush with the law comes after he completed a three-day suspension without pay and as he remains on one-year probation. The discipline is tied to Cota not properly reporting how an employee list was used during the department's February 2010 election between the MPA and rival Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 9.

That investigation centered on how the MPA's parent organization, the Arizona Police Association, received a list of police officer names, which were used to e-mail an election flier. The FOP lodged a complaint, stating the MPA violated election rules barring the use of city resources for the election.

City officials told investigators Cota changed his story when questioned about how the APA received the list. Cota denied their allegations and said his former girlfriend, Stacey Dillon, who handles the MPA's media relations, forwarded the contact info to the APA.

The City Council went on to nullify the February 2010 election results and ordered a new election be held last October.

MPA won that contest and Cota is in the process of negotiating a memorandum of understanding, which will outline how the organization will communicate with the city on future policy issues.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Two Former Pima County Sheriff's Deputies Charged for Allegedly Ripping Off Drug Dealers

The United States Department of Justice announced today that two former Pima County Sheriff's deputies have been indicted on charges that they used their positions as law enforcement officials to help three other men rip off drug dealers and steal government-seized narcotics.

Francisco J. Jimenez, Jr, and Miguel Arvizu -- both former Pima County sheriff's deputies -- conspired with Frankie Carlos Cancannon, Jesus Corrales, and Emerick Rene Parra, to steal the cash and drugs.

Arvizu, the feds allege, told Cancannon, Corrales, and Parra that he was a cop, and that he knew other cops who would be willing to help them steal cash from drug smugglers.

In one instance, June 6, Jimenez stopped a vehicle he was told contained the proceeds of a drug deal. In the vehicle's glove box, Jimenez found $4,000, which he stole and shared with his cohorts.

A similar incident happened on October 8, when authorities say Jimenez pulled behind a car in the parking lot of a Tucson mall that he was told was carrying drug money. Again, Jimenez found $4,000 in the glove box and shared it with his Arvizu and the other alleged conspirators.

In another instance, Jimenez acted as "security" as Cancannon and Parra stole drugs and money from a police storage facility in Green Valley. Jimenez stood watch in his patrol car as the two men broke into the facility and stole about three kilograms of cocaine and cash.

"This Deputy Sheriff -- and his co-conspirator who is a former Deputy - dove head-first into the illegal drug trade and fomented an outrageous breach of the public's trust," U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke says in a statement.

Arvizu is charged in all of the eight counts of the indictment, which include which include conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, theft of government money and property, attempted distribution of three kilograms of cocaine, attempted possession with the intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, and assaulting a person having lawful charge, custody, and control of money and other property of the United States, with the intent to rob, steal, and purloin said money and property of the United States.

Jimenez is charged in the conspiracy count, three counts of theft of government money, and with attempted possession with the intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana.