Westminster police say BPD officer using SWAT vehicle may have been drunk

A veteran Baltimore City SWAT officer is under investigation after an argument over kneeling for the national anthem led to an encounter with police in Carroll County, the WBAL-TV 11 News I-Team has learned.

The argument — and suspicion that the city police officer was impaired while on call and using an SUV carrying SWAT guns — took place just after midnight Saturday in Westminster, according to police.

Westminster police were called to a Denny’s restaurant for disorderly customers. Customers were reported to be arguing over NFL players kneeling for the national anthem, police said.

In the parking lot, Westminster police encountered a customer identified as Bryant Russell. In a report, an officer wrote, “I detected a moderate odor of alcoholic beverage emitting from his person and exhaled breath. Further, I noticed his eyes were glassy and bloodshot. His speech was slurred as he talked.”

Police had been told the group had been drinking at a wedding before going to Denny’s.

Russell responded, according to the reports, “He was a Baltimore City police officer. You’re not going to intimidate me or threaten me.”

Westminster police were concerned Russell was going to drive.

“I advised if I observed him operating the vehicle, he would be placed under arrest for driving under the influence, at which time he replied, ‘Don’t threaten me,’ and again advised he was an officer,” according to the Westminster police officer’s report.

The vehicle Russell was using wasn’t his personal car but a black SUV owned by the Police Department and used by SWAT officers.

In their report, police said, “Russell advised there are ‘guns in the vehicle,’ and that he was on call, and could drive the vehicle anywhere in the state,” the report said.

A Baltimore Police Department policy governs the use of so-called take home vehicles: They are to be used only for official duties and responsibilities, and officers who have them can’t exhibit conduct that discredits BPD.

Westminster police did not arrest Russell. They did not see him drive. The officers were sent to another call. When they returned to Denny’s, Russell and the SUV were gone.

Baltimore police SWAT SUV© Provided by Hearst Television, Inc. Baltimore police SWAT SUVA spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department said the incident is under investigation by Internal Affairs.

Russell is not on any type of suspension. It is not known how the city-owned SUV was taken from the parking lot at Denny’s after Westminster police left.

Source: Westminster police say BPD officer using SWAT vehicle may have been drunk

Suspended detective back on duty

Detective Stacey Jenkins of the Fort Wayne Police Department has been on sick leave since he served his 30-day suspension for drunken driving, Police Chief Steve Reed announced Thursday.

At the Board of Public Safety meeting, Reed said he doesn’t normally talk about leave. However, he did say that Jenkins, who was suspended from July 25 to Sept. 6, was back with the department.

“He’s just not on the streets yet,” Reed said after the meeting.

Jenkins pleaded guilty in late July to operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration equivalent to at least 0.08 percent but less than 0.15 percent.

Allen Superior Court Judge John Surbeck handed Jenkins a suspended 60-day sentence. A charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated was dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

Jenkins was arrested at 3:45 a.m. June 14. He was found asleep in his car at the side of Maplecrest Road, near East State Boulevard.

A police report indicated his pupils were normal and his speech was good, although he was swaying.

He told the arresting officer he had taken insulin and had received injections for his back.

A Breathalyzer test administered about an hour later indicated his blood-alcohol level was 0.101 percent, above the legal limit of 0.08 percent, the report said.

 

Source: Suspended detective back with FWPD | Local | The Journal Gazette

Drunken Florida Keys woman arrested after leading deputies on chase

MARATHON, Fla. – Monroe County sheriff’s deputies arrested an intoxicated Marathon woman after she led them on a chase up U.S. Highway 1.

The deputies were called to a McDonald’s at 6:30 a.m. Sunday and witnessed Janice Hastings, 60, blocking traffic in the restaurant’s drive-thru lane.

After a customer and manager asked her to move, Hastings drove her car across the lot and parked across several spots.

When one deputy approached Hastings’ car, the manager told him he believed the woman was intoxicated.

As the deputy attempted to speak with Hastings, she hit the gas, jumped a curb and began driving north on U.S. 1.

Driving at speeds up to 45 mph, Hastings refused to stop with three deputies in pursuit. Another deputy was able to puncture all four of her tires after deploying spikes at an intersection.

However, Hastings kept driving with four flat tires and began fishtailing and endangering other drivers.

The car eventually came to a stop at mile marker 57.2, but Hastings refused to open her car door or window, shouting at officers that she was not drunk.

A passerby told deputies she had seen Hastings leaving J.J.’s Doghouse bar and driving erratically, running through a traffic light and hitting the median several times. The woman made the first call to 911 about Hastings’ driving.

Deputies said Hastings refused to take a sobriety test on the roadside or at the detention center after she was placed under arrest.

While in the detention center, Hastings also bit a deputy when he attempted to remove gum that she refused to spit out of her mouth.

Hastings was arrested on charges of fleeing and eluding police, reckless driving, DUI, battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence.

 

Source: Drunken Florida Keys woman arrested after leading deputies on…

NC firefighter killed by suspected drunk driver while clearing storm debris

NC firefighter clearing storm debris killed by suspected drunk driverBY MARK PRICEmsprice@charlotteobserver.comLINKEDINGOOGLE+PINTERESTREDDITPRINTORDER REPRINT OF THIS STORYOCTOBER 09, 2017 8:05 AMA Burke County firefighter was hit and killed by a suspected drunk driver around midnight Monday while answering a call about storm debris on a roadway.Triple Community firefighters were dispatched to the site of a fallen tree that was blocking several lanes of Highway 70 near the Drexel intersection, according to media outlets. Triple is about 70 miles northwest of Charlotte, near Morganton.The firefighter was identified as Jason Keith Hensley, 40, according to the Observer’s news partner, WBTV. He died instantly, media outlets reported.ADVERTISINGBurke County was under a Tornado Warning on Sunday evening and a tornado was confirmed to have touched down around the southeast of Morganton in Burke County.Firefighters were in the process of clearing debris when a vehicle traveling east on Hwy 70 struck Hensley, WBTV reported.The North Carolina Highway Patrol charged 58-year-old Randall Stewart with driving while impaired, driving without a license, reckless driving, not wearing a seat belt, possessing marijuana and possessing drug paraphernalia, reported WBTV.Stewart allegedly struck two other vehicles that were parked at the scene including Hensley’s personal vehicle which had the emergency lights activated, troopers told WBTV.

Source: NC firefighter killed by suspected drunk driver while clearing storm debris | Charlotte Observer

Officer’s credibility questioned after contrasting deposition, recordings

Officer Adam Ickes
Officer Adam Ickes

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — When Grand Rapids Police Officer Adam Ickes told his shift commander that the driver in a wrong-way crash he was investigating was Josh Kuiper, he was quick to say the then-assistant prosecutor was “hammered” and “visibly intox.”

Ickes’ initial analysis of the crash scene was captured in recorded police phone conversations with then-Lt. Matthew Janiskee and Sgt. Thomas Warwick.

But before the recordings were made public last month based on an MLive Freedom of Information Act request, Ickes downplayed his word choice and dismissed the notion that Kuiper showed signs of being visibly intoxicated during a May 11 deposition with Brian Molde, an attorney at Johnson Law, PLC.

The contrasting statements between the deposition and “unrecorded” phone conversations have led Molde and attorney Vernon “Ven” Johnson to accuse Ickes of falsifying a police report and lying under oath. They said they plan to recommend a perjury charge against Ickes to the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office. Johnson Law is the attorney for the crash victim, who was injured when Kuiper crashed his truck into his parked vehicle.

“This is a guy who the city and the Grand Rapids Police Department knows he falsified his police report,” Johnson said of Ickes. “He absolutely knew (Kuiper) was hammered … this man should have been fired.”

A 27-year police veteran concluded that former Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Josh Kuiper was intoxicated in November when he caused a wrong-way crash in Grand Rapids.

Molde and Johnson are representing Daniel Empson, who is involved in lawsuits against Kuiper and three of the bars that they said allegedly over-served Kuiper on Nov. 19.

During the May civil deposition, Molde questioned Ickes’ use of the word “hammered” and said the word choice indicated that the officer was certain Kuiper had been consuming alcohol to the point he was intoxicated prior to the crash.

 

“No,” he said, according to the deposition transcript. “I knew he had been drinking. The use of the word hammered is what I used. I wouldn’t — in my verbiage I don’t say ‘had been drinking,’ I normally say intoxicated, intox, you know. He had been drinking, I knew that much.

“Apparently I used hammered today — that day. That’s just the term I used.”


Ickes went on to say that he doesn’t know why he used the term “hammered” but that it has caused him “a lot of grief over the last few months.” He also said Kuiper didn’t slur his words that evening, and that he couldn’t smell any alcohol on his person following the crash.

In his police report, Ickes wrote that alcohol was suspected as a contributing factor in the crash. He indicated that no alcohol test was offered, and wrote in his narrative that no breathalyzer was offered “due to dexterity performance.”

“He actually stood quite well, had good balance,” Ickes told Molde during the deposition. “(He) didn’t have any overt signs of heavy intoxication, but he stated he had been drinking, there was a crash, so, I had to do, you know, to check to make sure.”

Ickes put Kuiper through three sobriety tests. The officer told Molde that Kuiper’s performance during his dexterity tests made him change his opinion regarding whether he was “hammered.”

However, his impression of Kuiper’s performance varied between what he told his shift commander that night and his analysis shared with Molde six months later.

“He got through the alphabet, hand dexterities were OK,” Ickes said to Janiskee, according to police phone recordings. “He said he couldn’t do the one-foot stand because his knees were not great so I skipped that one. Then we did the walk and turn, which wasn’t awesome at all. I’ve got two that were passable, one that wasn’t good.”

When Warwick showed up on scene, he called Janiskee on the city phone line he believed wasn’t recorded, and told him Kuiper was “f—-ed up.”

The public waited nearly 10 months to hear the conversation between officers after an assistant prosecutor’s crash on Nov. 19.

In January, Sgt. Stephen LaBrecque was asked by Chief David Rahinsky to conduct an operating-while-intoxicated investigation regarding the Nov. 19 crash. He reviewed Ickes’ body-worn camera footage as part of the investigation, and interviewed witnesses.

In his report, LaBrecque wrote that Kuiper’s speech was slow and deliberate, and that he had to think before answering questions. He also said Kuiper paused after the letter “F” while reciting the alphabet, before continuing, and that he lost his balance slightly during the walk-and-turn test, causing him to step backward to the left.

Ickes told Molde he didn’t have any concerns with how Kuiper answered his questions, and said he didn’t notice the pause or the slight loss of balance seen by LaBrecque.

“Again, that’s his interpretation of things,” Ickes said to Molde. “I don’t know how he feels. I know how I feel about the tasks and I’ve told you that I felt that it was performed well enough and I couldn’t tell you what this sergeant’s interpretation is.

“The determination I made at the scene is the one that I made. I’m not going to go back and arm chair quarterback myself on the video or what his determination is.”

Kalamazoo Prosecutor Jeffrey Getting, acting as a special prosecutor for the case, determined there was no evidence of neglect of duty or obstruction of justice on the part of Ickes.

The state Court of Appeals ordered Grand Rapids to release the recordings taken from a “non-recorded line” in response to MLive lawsuit.

After reviewing all available materials related to the crash, LaBrecque concluded that the former prosecutor was driving his truck while intoxicated.

“Based on the information gathered in this investigation as well as my experience of nearly 27 years as a police officer, and several years as a crash investigator, Mr. Kuiper operated his truck while intoxicated/impaired by alcohol and caused a crash that resulted in serious injuries to Mr. Empson,” LaBrecque wrote in his report.

Kuiper was later charged with a felony for reckless driving causing serious impairment of a body function and a misdemeanor moving violation causing serious impairment of a body function. He is currently appealing the charges, claiming the victim’s fractured shoulder didn’t constitute as a serious impairment.

Despite Police Chief David Rahinsky’s recommendation to have all three officers terminated from their positions, city officials suspended Ickes and Warwick for 160 hours without pay. Warwick was also demoted from sergeant to patrol officer, while Janiskee was fired.

The document shows what the city police officers said to each other during phone calls on a line they believed was not recorded.

“Lying on a police report is grounds for termination,” Johnson said. “Every single police report (Ickes) writes from now on should be called into question. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want this guy pulling me over and lying on a police report.”

Johnson and Molde are hoping to strengthen Empson’s civil lawsuits against Kuiper and the three establishments that served him alcohol.

Attempts to contact the Grand Rapids Police Officers Association for comment on behalf of Ickes were not immediately returned.