Sunday, November 18, 2007

Should Police be able to hassle citizens, manufacture evidence, and obstruct justice with immunity?

Homepage / Connecticut News

Accused Detective Appears In Court
Hartford Officer Charged With Tampering With Evidence

POSTED: 6:59 pm EST November 16, 2007
UPDATED: 8:13 pm EST November 16, 2007

HARTFORD, Conn. -- A Hartford police officer facing criminal charges appeared in court on Friday.

Detective Nathaniel Ortiz asked for a special form of probation where the charges would be dropped if he stays out of trouble for two years.

Ortiz was arrested in 2004 along with another officer and charged with two counts of tampering with evidence after a drug bust at a Hartford apartment.

Prosecutors said Ortiz planted marijuana in an evidence bag and lied about where he found a handgun.

The other accused officer, Sgt. Franco Sanzo, had his case dismissed through accelerated rehabilitation -- a special form of probation where charges are eventually dropped.

"There was no real criminal intent by my client," said Ortiz's attorney, Michael Georgetti. "Everything that occurred that was wrong occurred because of poor police procedures, poor police training and poor police supervision."

Prosecutors argued Friday that the charges are too serious for accelerated rehabilitation, as did an attorney for a woman who lived in the apartment where the bust occurred.

Raynetta Woodard's lawyer said Ortiz had been harassing Woodard's family for years and that she wants to see him punished.

"My client was retaliated against by Detective Ortiz, and he violated a public trust. It's for that reason that she's objecting to AR," said Woodard's attorney, Kimberly Graham.

Judge David Gold said that he wants to review court transcripts and some of the other paperwork involved in the case before making a decision on granting accelerated rehabilitation.

Ortiz has promised that if granted accelerated rehabilitation, he'll resign from the police department, will not sue the city, and won't seek his full police pension.

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