Brownsville TX March 13 2010 It’s a story that sounds too odd to be true, but a judge in Brownsville, Texas, has filed a lawsuit against his local Sam’s Club, the store’s manager and the store’s parent company Walmart Stores Inc., alleging that a bad customer service experience led to his arrest and involuntary commitment to two mental health facilities.
According to the lawsuit, the 46-year-old plaintiff, a municipal judge with 8 years on the bench and 17 years in law, went to purchase some diamond earrings for his wife at Sam’s Club. He claims that the Sam’s employees questioned his purchase of the pricey earrings and a verbal dispute began, ultimately leading to his arrest and confinement in a mental health facility.
The judge was released after two weeks when a court deemed him harmless to himself and others. But only a few days later, after displaying worrisome behavior his friends and family had him hospitalized at a second facility, where he received court-ordered treatment and has since been released.
In the lawsuit, he accuses the Sam’s Club, et al, of making a “false report to the Brownsville Police Department alleging [he] was guilty of disorderly conduct and terroristic threats.”
Among the allegations made by the plaintiff, who has been diagnosed as bipolar, against the store “include, but are not limited to, negligence, gross negligence, false imprisonment, defamation, malicious prosecution.”
The Sam’s Club manager named in the suit told reporters he did not remember the dispute and was not aware that a lawsuit had been filed against him.
Speaking to the press about his lawsuit, the judge said, “Now Sam’s will learn something about customer service and the First Amendment.”
State police said casino security at the MGM Grand spotted Melvin Wilson, 29, of 1000 Division St. in Great Barrington, Mass., walking through the casino about 2:30 a.m. with two bags from a hotel room not registered to him. Among items in the bags were towels, the contents of a mini bar, an iron, lightbulbs and batteries from the television remote control, police said.
After he was approached by security, police said Wilson admitted taking the items. Released on a $500 bond, Wilson is scheduled to appear March 25 in New London Superior Court.
“I wanted him to pay for the crime,” said DMS Security Officer Roberto Guach, 37, yesterday of the arrest of Pedro Alicea, 41, of Baldwin Avenue, who police say was arrested yesterday on charges of theft, wrongful impersonation and fraudulent use of a credit card. “It feels great.”
The case began on Feb. 21 at Azucar Restaurant on Washington Boulevard, where Guach and his wife celebrated their anniversary and Alicea was working as a bouncer.
Guach said not long after taking out his wallet for a tip at the coat check area he realized it was gone, reports said. He canceled all but one of his credit cards; that company had a computer glitch.
Within 10 hours, there were more than $650 in purchases.
Azucar owner Nick Vazquez said he pays a New York company to provide security and that Alicea was subbing for the restaurant’s regular bouncer that night.
The card was used at the Colony Shopping area on Grand Street to buy a TV, fast food, and more than $100 of liquor, Guach said. It was used at two gas stations on Tonnelle Avenue to buy gas, a carton of cigarettes and water.
Finally, the card was used at the Hard Grove Cafe on Grove Street and for four meals at the Coach House Diner in North Bergen. Guach said he got security video from the Citgo station and the Coach House and recognized the bouncer from Azucar spending his money.
Guach told police, who began trying to identify the bouncer.
Then, on Feb. 28, Guach was at Boca Grande Lounge Downtown and saw the man smoking outside and called police, reports said. Officers responded and arrested Alicea on three outstanding domestic violence warrants, reports said.
But Alicea was free before a warrant was issued on the credit card charges, so Guach went back to work. He got the license plate number of the bouncer’s vehicle and gave it to police, he said.
Detectives learned two tickets were issued to the car at Monmouth and Mercer streets recently and checked the area several times this week, Guach said. Yesterday morning, they spotted the vehicle parked there and staked it out for an hour before Alicea returned and was arrested.
Guach worked at The Jersey Journal for more than a decade, until recently. He is now posted at the Office of Administrative Law Court House in Newark and he supervises the guards at the newspaper.
Detectives from the 2nd Precinct as well as a state parole officer tracked down Calvin Battle, 52, Friday afternoon to question him.
Later Friday, investigators said they identified him as the suspect seen in security camera video from near the church.
Battle broke into St. Lucy’s on Thursday, punched and kicked Sister Obiama, and then stole a laptop computer and other equipment, police said.
Sister Obiama was briefly hospitalized, police said. She is originally from Nigeria and has been with this church for four years, according to NJ.com.
Police charged Battle with aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, theft, and criminal mischief.
He has nearly three dozen arrests and a dozen felony convictions for robbery, burglary, and theft-related offenses, Newark police said.
Arnold is suspected of embezzling $800 of park fees between September and November 2009 and falsifying deposit slips to cover up the missing cash, police said in a news release late Friday.
Police began an investigation after being contacted by the city’s Human Resources Department, which had been notified by a park ranger of inconsistencies in how park fees were handled, the release said.
The Natural Resources park ranger initiated an audit of receipts collected at Gateway Park. The ranger responsibilities included collecting parking and other use receipts for Gateway Park and delivering them to the Natural Resources office, where Arnold prepared written documents and deposited the receipts, police said.
The investigation uncovered several instances where Arnold allegedly falsified deposit tickets by misapplying checks to the Gateway parking account to cover up missing cash, according to the release.
Arnold was placed on administrative leave Thursday and turned herself in to the Larimer County Detention Center on Friday, City Manager Darin Atteberry said.
Court records show that a $1,500 personal recognizance bond was set for Arnold.
Arnold was originally hired by the city in June 2002 and left city employment in good standing in August 2005, according to the police news release.
She was re-hired by the Natural Resources Department in September 2008.
Caveon has 7 years of experience in investigative test results for more than 100 clients. Commission chair Gary Price, a market managing partner at the Atlanta branch of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, says the group chose Caveon in part to prove the investigation will be independent.
“This commission has no objective other than to get the facts and whatever those facts are guide us in our recommendations,” said Price.
While most observers are interested in finding a reason for the test erasures, Caveon’s first priority is reviewing APS’ cheating policy. Price wants the company to review the policy and recommendation possible changes before APS students take the CRCT this year. Those recommendations are due early next month.
As for the cheating investigation, the state has set a May 17th deadline for those results. Caveon President John Fremer says it’s a quick turnaround. He jokingly told the Commission he’ll have to start the investigation on the plane leaving Atlanta.
A short amount of time is not the only unique factor of the investigation. Fremer says typical test investigations requiring looking at erasures, year to year gain scores and other information.
“What makes this stand out is focusing on erasures. So, we’re going to put all of our technology, crafts, science into that topic,” said Fremer.
Fremer, who seems to enjoy his work, said he sees the Atlanta investigation as a real challenge.
“I can’t wait to see that data because right now it’s a mystery. How there could be so many wrong to right erasures is not plausible. No interpretation anyone has given me seems credible,” said Fremer.
Caveon is headquarted in Utah. The company has conducted investigations for the College Board and 5 other states.
Three men were arrested this morning on charges that they broke into an apartment at Seminole Suites, 2400 block of Jackson Bluff Road, and stole about $3,000 worth of property, said Sgt. Tony Drzewiecki, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office.
Fredrick Dixon, 19; Marcus Ricketts, 18; and Donald Johnson, 19, were arrested on charges of burglary, grand theft and possession of burglary tools. Ricketts also was charged with possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana
Drzewiecki said the men went to the area to commit crimes and decided to break in to the apartment after finding it unoccupied.
Deputy Joe LeSerra arrived at the apartment complex about 2:15 a.m. and was told by a security guard that the three men had just left the area in a white Ford Crown Victoria.
LeSerra quickly tracked down the men, who crashed their car on Belle Vue Way. The stolen property was recovered from the car. The men weren’t injured and are being held in the county jail.
MARCH 13 2010
A 14-year-old Panhandle boy is charged with shooting and killing his father, a TSA airport security manager.
Pensacola police say 14-year-old Warren Williams called 911 around 7:30 p.m. Thursday and said there had been a shooting at his Pensacola home. Emergency responders found the father, 55-yer-old William Williams, dead.
The elder Williams, a retired Marine, was assistant federal security director at Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport. Williams’ boss says he oversaw the airport’s entire screening operation.
The boy was arrested on-scene, accused of shooting his father several times.
Police say the investigation is ongoing.
An unarmed burglary suspect was shot and killed by a Metro police officer Friday after pulling a shiny metal object out of his pocket while the two were fighting. It was an iPod.
Reginald Dewayne Wallace, 40, died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center after he was shot by Officer Joe Shelton at 1026 Villa Place, a home in the gentrifying Edgehill neighborhood near Music Row.
It was the second time in 24 hours that a suspect was shot by a Metro officer. The suspect in that first shooting is in stable condition at Vanderbilt.
Police say Wallace broke into a home at 1037 14th Ave. S. around 10:45 a.m. Friday morning. The resident was home, heard a loud crash and called police.
Wallace ran from the scene when police showed up. Officers chased him, but lost sight of him on Villa Place. Shelton, a 21-year police veteran, released his dog, Memphis, to find Wallace, who was hiding under a deck at the Villa Place home.
The dog bit Wallace and didn’t let go, even when the man crawled out from under the deck and tried to climb over a privacy fence.
While Wallace was trying to climb the fence, Shelton grabbed him and the two began fighting. Police said Wallace ignored repeated warnings and instead reached for a silver object in his pocket.
Shelton believed he was in danger and shot Wallace, according to police.
Second fatal shooting by officer
It’s the second time the officer has been involved in a fatal shooting. In 2007, Shelton shot and killed an 18-year-old man who was robbing a Mapco station on Dickerson Pike. In that case the man pointed a gun at Shelton but did not fire it, according to Tennessean reports. The officer was cleared in that case.
Shelton is a decorated officer — he was recognized in 2007 for helping capture a convicted murderer who opened fire on Officer Danita Marsh while she was on domestic violence call.
Police said Shelton is on routine administrative assignment while the case is investigated.
Wallace, who lived in North Nashville, had been convicted of burglary three times. He was on probation for a November 2009 conviction and had been arrested 31 times on 24 charges including resisting arrest.
iPod was stolen
Police recovered the stolen iPod on the ground near Wallace; a 52-inch flat-screen TV taken during the burglary was recovered in a nearby shed.
Next-door neighbor Matt Kovar was home when the shooting took place but said he didn’t know what happened until after police arrived.
“I was up in my room and I heard what sounded like banging on my door, so I got up to see what was going on,” he said. “I looked out my back window and saw cop cars. I thought it was a car accident.”
It’s the second time in two days Metro police have shot a suspect during a scuffle.
At about 5:30 Thursday evening, Officer Michael Hunnicutt shot Pedro Valencia Barragan, 31, after Barragan stabbed Officer John Timm. The officers were answering a domestic violence call.
Timm was released from the hospital Friday. Barragan faces two charges of attempted murder.