Ex-NYPD officers gets 23 1/2 years in prison for ticket fixing, plotting to kill witness
THE BRONX (PIX11) – The one-time Bronx officer who made headlines in a massive 2011 ticket-fixing scandal pleaded guilty Tuesday to the final criminal charges against him, which included conspiracy to kill a witness.
Jose Ramos, wearing an orange jailhouse jumpsuit, agreed to a plea deal that could bring him 15 1/2 to 23 1/2 years in prison.
Aside from his work in the 40th Precinct, Ramos owned two barbershops and his businesses in 2011 were being wiretapped by narcotics investigators who thought they were fronts for drug dealing. In the course the wiretaps, detectives learned there was a pattern of ticket fixing going on by dozens of other police officers.
That’s when Internal Affairs became involved.
Fifteen other NYPD officers were arrested in October 2011 in the ticket-fixing case, including a female lieutenant working in Internal Affairs who was charged with alerting other officers to the investigation.
Ramos, who is not white, was vilified for associating with drug dealers, selling counterfeit CDs and DVDs and for attempted robbery counts.
But the large police union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, summoned more than 1,000 off-duty officers to flood the hallways of Bronx Criminal Court in 2011. They alleged Ramos’ 15 colleagues were being unfairly targeted for assisting family and friends with tickets. The supporters chanted at the time, “It’s a courtesy, not a crime.”
A police sergeant ensnared in the case was among the first to lose his job and at least 150 other officers lost up to 30 vacation days after disciplinary action was taken within the department.
During the course of the investigation, 139,000 phone calls had been recorded. The department also tracked down nearly half a million text messages and emails.
Ramos’ wife was among those arrested in the initial investigation. Ramos was convicted three months ago on four other counts.
His guilty plea on the six remaining charges Tuesday essentially finishes his case.
Ramos was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Omer Wiczyk and Meagan Powers, of the Bronx DA Rackets Bureau.
Sidebar: for all those who accuse the mainstream commercial media of being nothing but a mouthpiece for law-enforcement, I should note that I've been grabbing all of these stories which are critical of the actions of LEOs from mainstream media sources, and providing attribution. This particular one was reported by CNN, and re-posted by WPIX.
Police officer found not guilty of using excessive force during arrest caught on video POSTED 12:10 PM, JANUARY 15, 2015, BY CNN, UPDATED AT 12:40PM, JANUARY 15, 2015
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — A police officer was found not guilty in Bridgeport on Wednesday after a trial accusing him of using excessive force during an arrest, according to the clerk’s office.
Clive Higgens was captured on camera stomping on a suspect during an arrest, and the video was subsequently uploaded to YouTube.
On May 20, 2011, Higgens heard over his police radio that officers were actively pursuing a van that was trying to drive off, and that the driver was believed to have a gun. Higgens heard that officers were asking for back up, and as the chase neared the area he was assigned to he responded.
Before Higgens caught up with the pursuit it had ended in an open field in Beardsley Park, and the suspect fled on foot. Two officers chased him, and one of them issued a Taser, which incapacitated the suspect.
When Higgens arrived the suspect was already on the ground after being impacted by the Taser. Higgens got out of his cruiser and kicked the suspect in the head and neck while he lay on the ground.
A federal indictment formally accused Higgens of assaulting the suspect while acting “under the color of law” and depriving the suspect of his rights in the Constitution to “be free from the use of unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer.”
It further said that the suspect had effectively been incapacitated by other officers and that Higgens kicking him was unreasonable and unnecessary and caused injuries.
Higgens has been an officer with the Bridgeport Police Department since 2002.
Under the new bill, a citizen could rarely be sure whether recording any given conversation without permission is legal. The bill would make it a felony to surreptitiously record any “private conversation,” which it defines as any “oral communication between 2 or more persons,” where at least one person involved had a “reasonable expectation” of privacy.
When does the person you’re talking to have a reasonable expectation of privacy? The bill doesn’t say. And that’s not something an ordinary person can be expected to figure out.
A law must be clear enough for citizens to know in advance whether a particular action is a crime. This bill doesn’t meet that standard, which should be reason enough for a court to strike it down if it becomes law.
But lack of clarity isn’t the only problem with this bill.
Although it appears to be designed to accommodate the Illinois Supreme Court’s ruling striking down the old law, the bill actually is designed to continue to prevent people from recording interactions with police.
The bill says it would only be a crime to record someone where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, which should mean that recording public encounters with police would not be a crime, and the old law’s fatal constitutional flaw would no longer exist.
But the bill doesn’t really fix the problem. Again, citizens can’t be expected to know for sure precisely which situations give rise to an “expectation of privacy” and which don’t. The Illinois Supreme Court said that police don’t have an expectation of privacy in “public” encounters with citizens, but it did not explain what counts as a “public” encounter. So if this bill becomes law, people who want to be sure to avoid jail time will refrain from recording police at all, and the law will therefore still effectively prevent people from recording police.
The video shows one officer delivering six punches while he's on top of the man and the second officer coming in with two kicks to the man's legs.
While celebrating their arrest, the officers continue to curse at the man. The larger officer kneeled on the man's back as he was face-down in the snow. The officer was enraged that the suspect moaned, "Jesus."
"You're calling Jesus? Don't you dare! Don't you (expletive) dare!" the officer can be heard saying.
The woman recording the arrest from inside her home believed she was watching police beat a man who was already in handcuffs and offering no resistance.
New York State Police have done a poor job keeping track of more than $2 billion in seized assets and didn't get enough in return when selling them off, a state audit has found.
The audit by the state Comptroller's Office found that nearly $993 million in seized property was misclassified as "pending disposition," when, in fact, the cases associated with them had been closed. In some instances state police troops didn't even report seized property to headquarters, including $39,967 in cash and three vehicles in one case.
"Without proper tracking and accounting of seized asset cases, the (state police) cannot readily or accurately determine the number and value of seized assets in its own and other agencies' custody, the amount of proceeds due through court or administrative dispositions, and the amount of proceeds received," the comptroller's audit said. "As a result, there is limited assurance that the (state police) receives its correct share of proceeds from forfeited assets."
The audit examined items seized by police in the department's 11 troops between April 2011 and September 2013. It did not specify which troops, or barracks, were involved, nor what most of the seized items were.
Taylor said that after the first shot or two failed to stop Wrana, he felt he had the authority to use lethal force — opening fire with his handgun — but chose not to in part because of Wrana's advanced age.
The Tribune had interviewed Taylor for a front-page story last month, but this marked his first public comments on the shooting itself.
Taylor testified he felt in fear for his life as soon as the team of five officers opened the door to Wrana's apartment at a retirement center and saw him holding the knife and threatening to kill police.
"I was afraid for me and I was afraid for my fellow officers," Taylor said. "I felt I needed to do something to stop that threat."
A Florida National Guardswoman was alarmed to discover her brother’s mugshot riddled with bullets at a shooting range where police officers had been taking target practice.
Sgt. Valerie Deant, who plays clarinet with the Florida Army National Guard’s 13th Army Band, said her brother was among several photos — all of black suspects — used during shooting drills by North Miami Beach police officers, reported WTVJ-TV.
She immediately became upset and called her brother, who had been arrested in 2000, when he was 15 years old, in connection with a drag race that killed two people.
J. Scott Dennis, chief of North Miami Beach police, admitted officers should have used better judgment in selecting the targets but denies any racist intent, pointing out that the department’s sniper team includes minority officers.
it's not racist because that police office employs a few minorites.
The reform is the first of its kind in the nation, and it works like this: every time police fire a Taser, they'll have to file a "use of force report."
"It's a very thorough report," said David McGuire with the ACLU of Connecticut. "It goes through the person's race, their age, their height, their weight; how the Taser was used; what mode it was used in; how many times it was fired; whether the person had an injury; whether medical assistance was provided."
Police also need to attach electronic data that's uploaded directly from the Taser.
McGuire said that for some Connecticut police departments, the new mandate won't change much. He pointed to East Haven, which -- due to a 2012 consent decree from the Department of Justice -- has restructured its policing policies.
McGuire said that department now provides a model for how other departments should log Taser use.
A Brooklyn man who claimed the police manufactured gun-possession charges against him had his case dismissed on Thursday, amid two investigations into the practices of a group of police officers in the 67th Precinct in East Flatbush.
The man, Jeffrey Herring, had maintained his innocence ever since his arrest on June 4, 2013, asserting that officers had planted the gun on him and fabricated the circumstances of his arrest.
The officers claimed that they got a tip from a confidential informer that Mr. Herring had a gun. Prosecutors had been instructed to bring the informer to court on Thursday; the defense had challenged whether that informer even existed.
At the hearing, prosecutors offered no evidence or mention of that informer.
“Based upon information provided to us by defense counsel” and on the office’s own investigation, said Paul Burns, an assistant district attorney, “we do not believe at this time that we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt the charges against Mr. Herring.”
Deputy claims I had a non functional tail light. He also claims I was not wearing my seat belt. After the officer pulled me over he claimed to have smelled an odor of "dope" coming from my car and he proceeded to search it. At no point during the encounter do I say anything other then "Im not answering any questions" and "I do not concent to search and seizure".
During my investigation to see what evidence the officer had for pulling me over, I sent a letter to the sheriffs office requesting the dash cam footage of the event as well as the officers report. The request was accepted however they claim that "due to malfunction, the dash cam from the Deputies car is unavailable." I have since filed for the maintenance/check log report of the vehicle in question.
I am making public, all the records and video of the event. I have submitted my plea's of not guilty and await my pre-trial conference with the DA.
Below you will find links to the police report and letter regarding the dash cam.
Any an all comments are welcome and I will be updating this story as it progresses.
345.45 Burden of proof. The standard of proof for conviction of any person charged with violation of any traffic regulation shall be evidence that is clear, satisfactory and convincing.
Wisconsin Statute 946.72 (http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statu... ) - Tampering with public records and notices. (1) Whoever with intent to injure or defraud destroys, damages, removes or conceals any public record is guilty of a Class H felony.
A person commits the crime of tampering with evidence when he or she knowingly:
alters, conceals, falsifies, or destroys
any record, document, or tangible object
with the intent to interfere with an investigation, possible investigation, or other proceeding by the federal government.
(18 U.S.C. § 1519.)
This crime includes making false entries in records or doctoring documents, such as by “cooking the books” of a business to hide illegal activity or avoid taxes or other required payments.
Tampering with evidence also includes destroying or altering documents or things “in contemplation of” an investigation or other proceeding that may occur in the future.
The police chief in Sentinel was shot Thursday while responding to a bomb threat, authorities reported. The police chief, who was wearing a borrowed bulletproof vest, was hit in the arm by gunfire in the western Oklahoma town.
Agents with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said the man who shot the chief was released after hours of questioning when they determined they didn’t have enough evidence to arrest him.
“Facts surrounding the case lead agents to believe the man was unaware it was officers who made entry,” OSBI wrote in a news release.
At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside, a practice raising new concerns about the extent of government surveillance.
Those agencies, including the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, began deploying the radar systems more than two years ago with little notice to the courts and no public disclosure of when or how they would be used. The technology raises legal and privacy issues because the U.S. Supreme Court has said officers generally cannot use high-tech sensors to tell them about the inside of a person's house without first obtaining a search warrant.
The radars work like finely tuned motion detectors, using radio waves to zero in on movements as slight as human breathing from a distance of more than 50 feet. They can detect whether anyone is inside of a house, where they are and whether they are moving.
Current and former federal officials say the information is critical for keeping officers safe if they need to storm buildings or rescue hostages. But privacy advocates and judges have nonetheless expressed concern about the circumstances in which law enforcement agencies may be using the radars — and the fact that they have so far done so without public scrutiny.