One of the Santa Barbara Police Department’s top civilian employees was arrested on suspicion of embezzling more than $100,000 in parking ticket revenue over several years, the department said Friday.
Karen Flores, supervisor of the department’s business office, was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of grand theft and held on $250,000 bail, according to a department spokesman. She was placed on unpaid administrative leave.
Investigators started examining the department’s business practices about seven months ago, when officials from the city’s finance department uncovered inconsistencies in records related to parking citation fees.
“Over time a pattern of diverting funds from the parking citation system into the private account of Karen Flores was discovered,” according to a news release from the department.
Opening statements are expected to begin Monday in the trial of five Orange County inmates accused of brutally beating another inmate because they thought he was a child molester, officials said.
Jared Louis Petrovich, 27, of Tustin; Miguel Guillen, 48, and Raul Villafana, 24, both of Santa Ana; and Garrett Eugene Aguilar, 28, and Stephen Paul Carlstrom, 42, both of Anaheim, face felony murder charges in the Oct. 5, 2006, death of John Chamberlain just days after Chamberlain was transferred to the Theo Lacy Detention Facility in Orange.
A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department watchdog released a report Thursday highlighting the misconduct of numerous deputies, including one deputy who shot at a motorist who bumped his car at a fast-food restaurant.
The deputy was inside a McDonald’s when he heard his car alarm go off. When he went outside, he realized his car had been hit.
He and the other driver agreed to exchange information, but the other driver didn’t want to alert police, prompting the deputy to pull his gun out and tell the driver he was a cop.
The other driver, in disbelief that the man was actually a law enforcement officer, got back in his car and took off.
As the car pulled away, the deputy fired several rounds at the other driver’s car.
The man was not struck, but his car was.
When investigators arrived, the deputy claimed he’d reached into the car while the driver was trying to flee and was dragged 15 feet before he started firing.
The incident, however, was caught on tape, showing he wasn’t dragged. The deputy, a rookie then still on “probationary” status, was fired after he refused to cooperate with an investigation into the August 2010 incident in Stevenson Ranch, the details of which had previously not been released.
A Sheriff’s Department spokesman said a case was presented to prosecutors, who declined to file charges because of “insufficient evidence.” The Sheriff’s Department refused to release the former deputy’s name.
While off-duty at the time of the incident, the deputy was scheduled to work a shift soon after at a county jail facility.
FBI agents have searched the Tarzana home of an appointee of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to determine whether he or anyone else at the residence might have downloaded child pornography, according to authorities and documents released Wednesday.
Investigators went Friday to the home of Albert Abrams, until this week president of the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners, a seven-member panel that oversees dozens of neighborhood councils. No one has been arrested or charged and the investigation is continuing, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.
Ten Los Angeles motor officers have sued the city alleging that their supervisors retaliated against them for resisting traffic-ticket quotas, according to a court filing reviewed Thursday.
Attorneys for officers Philip Carr, Timothy Dacus, Kevin Cotter, Peter Landelius, Kevin Ree, Kevin Riley, Josh Sewell, Vincent Stroway, James Wallace and Jason Zapatka — all of the West Traffic Division — filed suit a week ago in Los Angeles Superior Court.
A San Bernardino County judge on Tuesday increased the bail of a former sheriff’s deputy accused of having sex with one of the law enforcement agency’s teenage Explorer volunteers after reports that the deputy wrote about “revenge, payback” on a Facebook page.
Nathan James Gastineau’s bail was increased from $150,000 to $350,000 after Superior Court Judge John Martin saw a printout of the former deputy’s comment, according to Christopher Lee, spokesman for the San Bernardino County district attorney’s Office.
Lee said that the Facebook posting, which appeared on a page called Gastineau Support, was discovered by Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing the female volunteer who made the allegations against Gastineau. She was 15 at the time of the alleged incidents.
The 31-year-old former deputy faces charges of lewd and lascivious acts with a child and illegal sexual intercourse with a minor. Gastineau pleaded not guilty to the charges.
During the hearing, Gastineau told the judge that his comments were part of a quote from a television show.
A San Diego police officer facing hit-and-run and drunk driving charges was found dead in the backyard of his home Monday morning, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.
David Hall, 41, was discovered slumped against the rear wall of his home in the Clairemont Mesa neighborhood of San Diego. His wife called police shortly after the 10 a.m. shooting.
Hall, a motorcycle officer, was off duty in February when he allegedly struck another car on a freeway onramp, injuring a female passenger, and fled the scene. Police later arrested him at his home. He was awaiting trial after pleading not guilty in May.
His death was the latest blow to a department that has suffered a spate of tragedies and misconduct allegations in recent months. Last month, veteran detective Donna Williams, 52, was found dead in her home, the victim of a knife attack that also killed her daughter. Her son was arrested on suspicion of murder.
Several officers have been accused of misconduct, including spousal abuse, rape, stalking and excessive force. The department has beefed up its internal affairs unit and supervisors now receive “early intervention” training on how to spot troublesome officers.
Hall, a father of three, had been placed on paid administrative duty. During his 14-year career, he had been a patrol officer and served on specialized narcotics and parole apprehension teams. In 2008, he began to work in the traffic division and in 2010 he became a motorcycle officer, according to the department.
After his arrest, Hall was ordered by a judge to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Police Chief William Lansdowne said Hall had met with a mental health professional Sunday and was scheduled to appear in court again Thursday for a pretrial hearing.
"The San Diego Police Department was very aware of the stress he was under and had taken every effort to get Officer Hall the help he needed," Lansdowne said. "Unfortunately, even with the help and support provided, Officer Hall unexpectedly decided to take his own life." Via: www.latimes.com