A Los Angeles Police Department detective assigned to the gang and narcotics division was arrested Friday and charged with grand theft, the LAPD said.
Det. Ramon Alvarez, a 27-year veteran of the department, was involved in serving an arrest warrant Friday at a suspected narcotics location when a fellow detective saw him taking money from the site, according to a statement released by the department.
The detective immediately notified his supervisor, and Alvarez’s vehicle was searched at the scene. Money believed to be the property of the drug suspect was found inside, according to the statement. Alvarez was arrested by the internal affairs criminal investigation division.
"I am extremely disturbed and shocked by the arrest, but heartened by the actions of the detective who immediately reported what appeared to be criminal behavior," said Police Chief Charlie Beck.
Bail was set at $20,000. Alvarez has been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of both the criminal and administrative investigations.
"The arrest of an LAPD officer and a classmate is shocking and very disappointing," Tyler Izen, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, said in a statement. "We expect law enforcement officers to hold themselves to the highest moral standards in their professional and personal lives, making the news doubly upsetting."
(CNN) — A New Mexico man held in solitary confinement in a county prison for nearly two years without ever being prosecuted has won a $22 million jury award for violation of his constitutional rights, officials said.
It is one of the largest federal civil rights settlements in history involving an inmate. Stephen Slevin alleged he was essentially forgotten while in custody.
"This has never been about the money," Slevin said in a halting voice outside the federal courthouse in Santa Fe, just after the jury’s decision.
He suffers from post-traumatic stress from what he called physical and mental mistreatment by corrections officials in Dona Ana County, in the southern part of the state.
"We made a statement about what happened to me," he said of the verdict.
Slevin, 58, was arrested in August 2005 and charged with driving while intoxicated and receiving a stolen vehicle near Las Cruces. His lawyers said the prison segregated him because he had a lifelong history of mental illness.
A boy rides his skateboard in downtown Maricopa, which has turned over its policing to the Kern County Sheriff’s Department because it no longer can afford its own agency. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times / June 28, 2011)
On Jan. 23, 2012, the US Supreme Court ruled in US v. Jones that a GPS device attached to a vehicle is in fact a search by the government, and therefore protected by the 4th Amendment. In essence therefore, and as future cases will flush out in detail, the government must get a warrant to attach a GPS device to a person’s vehicle, therefore requiring probable cause and judicial approval to do so.
Federal prosecutors on Friday filed their first charges in an ongoing investigation into the Los Angeles County jails, saying that an ex-deputy accused of smuggling a cellphone into a lockup in exchange for a bribe is now cooperating with investigators.
The former deputy, Gilbert Michel, agreed to plead guilty to one federal count of bribery in exchange for his cooperation, an official said.
Further details for the plea agreement were not available Friday.
“It’s a very complicated answer as far as what he gets and what we get,” said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles.
Discovery of the smuggled cellphone by sheriff’s officials sparked tensions between the department and the FBI last year. Sheriff Lee Baca initially blasted the bureau for committing a crime.
He has since toned down his criticisms and agreed to cooperate with federal agents as they examine allegations of inmate abuse and other deputy misconduct inside his jails.
Michel is expected to plead guilty in court next week. He faces up to 10 years in federal prison.
Over the past week, Attorney Paul Geller has had the following positive case results for clients:
1. LA County - An overaggressive child abuse case was dismissed outright.
2. Orange County - A non-accident DUI in which the DA wanted county jail was reduced to reckless driving, no jail.
3. LA County - A DUI with an accident and a .15 blood alcohol level was reduced to reckless driving, saving the highly powerful career of the client.
4. LA County - A high profile client was saved from having any criminal charges filed, after allegations of domestic violence and child abuse. After our lengthy discussions, the DA rejected all charges.
5. LA County - A nurse was accused of elder abuse of her mother. After a thorough investigation and presentation of mitigating circumstances, the case was rejected by the DAs office.
California voters may once again have the opportunity to change the state’s three-strikes mandatory-sentencing law.
An initiative to change the law has been cleared to gather petition signatures, a potential step toward the November ballot. The proposed change would reduce the sentences of some currently serving time, and reduce prison time for those who are convicted of nonviolent felonies and already have two prior felony strikes.