Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Endemic of Police Misconduct in the State of Connecticut?

Police corruption and brutality

Man Sues New Haven Over Planted Drug Evidence

By EDMUND H. MAHONY | The Hartford Courant
November 11, 2008

A New Haven man is suing the city for $10 million, claiming political pressure to crack down on drug dealing led to his arrest and incarceration two years ago by corrupt detectives who planted drugs in an apartment he was visiting.

Norval Falconer charges in the suit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in New Haven that pressure by the mayor and chief of police to clean up drug-plagued city neighborhoods created a culture of lawlessness among narcotics detectives that led to the falsification of evidence and widespread civil rights abuses.

Despite its claim of systemic law-breaking, Falconer's suit is so far the only one to emerge from the arrests a year-and-a-half ago on corruption and civil rights charges of former Lt. William White, head of the city police department's narcotics enforcement unit, and Dets. Justin Kasperzyk and Jose Silva.

The three police officers were arrested in March 2007 following an undercover investigation by the FBI and state police. During the investigation, a state police detective joined the city's police narcotics unit to document the planting of evidence and theft by the three officers of money they thought had been discovered in the residences — and in one case an automobile — of suspected drug dealers.

White and Kasperzyk are in prison. Silva has completed his sentence.

Falconer's lawyer, Diane Polan, names the three detectives, as well as the city and former New Haven Police Chief Francisco Ortiz, in the lawsuit, claiming that lax or nonexistent supervision by the chief and city officials led to a police culture of "widespread corruption and pattern of violating individuals' constitutional rights."

"The failure of Ortiz and City of New Haven to properly supervise White, Kasperzyk and Silva created a pattern and or custom of tacit approval to the custom of unlawful practices and policies that ultimately resulted in the violation of plaintiff's constitutional rights," Polan wrote in the lawsuit.

Ortiz, who resigned as chief in January and became a senior security official at Yale University, did not return a call. A city spokesman said Mayor John DeStefano Jr. condemns the corrupt behavior, but said that the FBI and a private consultant have concluded that it was limited to the three officers.

"Obviously, we deplore the actions of White, Kasperzyk and Silva, which we think were clearly illegal and corrupt," Robert Smuts, New Haven's chief administrative officer, said Monday.

"But we think that the FBI investigation as well as the internal review that we commissioned show that the corruption stopped there. The mayor expects the police department to put a stop to illegal narcotics activity but he does not think — and did not think — that translates to systemic law-breaking and corruption."

New Haven State's Attorney Michael Dearington said his office dropped the charges against Falconer after the arrests of the three officers. He said his office has found no additional cases tainted by police misconduct.

"When asked, we've reviewed cases," Dearington said. "When a defendant makes a claim, we will look at the file. So far we haven't found any where a red flag has gone up."

According to information provided by the FBI, the state police and Polan, Falconer was visiting an apartment on Truman Street in New Haven on Nov. 9, 2006, when members of the city's now-disbanded narcotics unit broke down the door and announced they had a warrant to search for drugs. Falconer was detained as he was leaving a rear bedroom.

During the confusion, according to court records, Kasperzyk transferred drugs he found in the building basement to the bedroom. Falconer was arrested based on a fraudulent report written by Silva.

White, who was later arrested for stealing money planted in the room by the undercover state police detective, supervised the raid.

Polan said in the suit that Falconer was charged with eight drug-related crimes and jailed when he was unable to make bail. Falconer pleaded guilty to reduced charges in December after being advised by a court appointed lawyer that it was the only way he could get out of jail for Christmas, Polan said.

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[click here] for:

The Connecticut State Trooper Gene Pool?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trial delayed for former police chief

Marlon S. Castillo
Staff Reporter
Published Monday, March 24, 2003

Brian Sullivan, the former head of the New Haven Police Department detective bureau who is charged with obstructing a 1996 murder investigation, will have to wait three more months for the start of his trial, officials at the Connecticut State's Attorney's office announced late last week.

Sullivan's trial, originally scheduled to begin on March 3, was postponed until June 4 at the request of his lawyers, said Mark Dupuis, a spokesman for the State's Attorney's office. The trial will begin with jury selection, during which six jurors -- plus a number of alternates to be determined by the judge -- will be selected.

Sullivan's attorney, Hugh Keefe, said he expects the trial to take about a month.

Sullivan is accused of hindering the investigation of the November 1996 murder of Philip Cusick. Cusick died from a gunshot wound to the chest after being shot in the Fair Haven section of New Haven, according to a final grand jury report. The location of the body, however, granted jurisdiction to North Haven police.

During the homicide investigation, detectives took a statement from a witness who described Cusick's alleged assailant.

When Sullivan was presented with the statement, he allegedly ordered the investigation to be terminated, claiming the chief of police told him to do so.

The chief denied that he ever gave the order, and Sullivan never turned the statement over to North Haven police. Sullivan faces one count of hindering prosecution in the first degree and one count of evidence tampering, according to the arrest warrant filed in superior court in 2000.

Both charges are Class D felonies, and each carries a penalty of one year to five years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

Neither Keefe nor the State's Attorney's Office would comment on the possibility of granting Sullivan accelerated rehabilitation, which would expunge Sullivan's criminal record of the felonies after serving a probationary period.

During the murder investigation, Sullivan was the head of the Investigative Services Unit of the NHPD. The ISU conducts the investigations of major crimes such as homicides within New Haven. As head of the ISU, Sullivan also supervised the evidence room, the warrant stated.

Cusick was in New Haven accompanying another person who was seeking to purchase narcotics the evening of his murder, the arrest warrant stated. According to the grand jury report, his body was found the next evening "lying on the side of the road across the street from his mother's house in North Haven," giving North Haven police jurisdiction in the investigation.

After determining that Cusick might have been shot in New Haven, NHPD detectives were called by North Haven Police Department detectives to assist with the investigation, the report stated. According to the warrant, in 1998 New Haven detectives discovered two witnesses to Cusick's murder and subsequently took a tape-recorded statement from one witness who described a person fleeing the crime scene after the shooting.

According to the report, after the statement was taken, detectives met with Sullivan and Sgt. Edward Kendall, second in command of ISU, to discuss obtaining a search warrant for the shooter's house in hopes of locating the murder weapon. However, Sullivan told the detectives to halt the investigation "per order of the Chief," the report stated. Furthermore, the NHPD never provided the tape to North Haven police.

Kendall had a transcript of the witness statement in his desk for up to a year, the grand jury report stated.

During testimony before a grand jury, Kendall first stated that Sullivan ordered him to provide the witness statement to North Haven police but that he forgot to do so.

Kendall later revised his statement and said Sullivan never told him to inform North Haven police.

Current NHPD Chief Melvin Wearing, who was Sullivan's supervisor at the time, former assistant chief Douglas MacDonald and former chief Nicholas Pastore all testified before the grand jury that they never ordered Sullivan to end the investigation.

Jose Rivera was convicted last month on assault and other charges related to Cusick's murder but was acquitted on the murder charge itself.

The grand jury report found no evidence that any of Sullivan's subordinates "shared criminal intent or unlawful purpose" in Sullivan's actions regarding the homicide investigation.

However, the grand jury report provided no motive for Sullivan's actions, and speculation still looms over a reason for why Sullivan would obstruct the investigation.

"The state has no motive," Keefe said. "They can see they have no motive."

Wed Nov 19, 11:52:00 PM 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judge’s backer faces jail
KWAZULU-NATAL – Paul Ngobeni, University of Cape Town deputy registrar of legal services, faces 12 years in a US jail for fraud, larceny and practising law illegally.
According to records made public by the Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice, Ngobeni faces three counts of larceny, one of forgery and one of illegal practice.
Ngobeni has pleaded not guilty to all counts and his last hearing was on July 27. His appointment at UCT was announced on August 27.
Mark Dupuis, spokesman for Connecticut’s Criminal Justice Division, would only say: “We do not comment on pending cases, nor on whether we will extradite.”
Though qualified to practise law in the US – but not South Africa – Ngobeni has been banned from doing so.
Mark Dubois, chief disciplinary counsel with the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch, said: “Mr Ngobeni has been suspended for 13 years as of a court order entered last week. He has filed a motion to reopen. He is also being prosecuted in criminal court for charges related to taking money from a client and not doing the work, and doing legal work while under suspension.”
Dubois added: “We understand he is also suspended from practice in Massachusetts and the federal forum.”
Patricia King, assistant disciplinary counsel with the Connecticut Judicial Department, said: “I will vigorously oppose this application.”
King said of the forgery charge: “It is alleged he took a cheque made out to the courts and fraudulently altered it so that he could deposit the cash into his own account.
“He also promised clients he would represent them – but instead took their cash and ran.”
In court papers appealing against his suspension, Ngobeni claims, among other things, that witnesses were bribed and in one case promised a new computer if they gave evidence against him in court.
UCT, Ngobeni deny guilt
KWAZULU-NATAL – University of Cape Town deputy registrar Paul Ngobeni had elicited judicial comment on the charges against him that led him to believe they were likely to be dismissed, UCT spokesman Gerda Kruger said yesterday.
“Mr Ngobeni denies wrongdoing, and says he confidently expects to be exonerated. He is innocent until proven guilty.”
UCT’s Dineo Noganta added: “The reference to Mr Ngobeni as Dr appeared in the university’s internal newsletter in error. His qualification, Doctor of Jurisprudence, was incorrectly interpreted as being a doctorate; hence the reference.”
Ngobeni yesterday confirmed he had not told UCT about his trial as all charges against him would be dropped. He admitted he’d no qualification recognised by SA courts, adding he enrolled for an LLB through Unisa but stopped studying “once I felt I had a thorough knowledge of South African law”.,1,22

Wed Nov 19, 11:56:00 PM 2008  

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