Archive for the ‘Police Who Don’t Protect and Serve’ Category

The widow of an Illinois police lieutenant who tried to portray his suicide as a murder was indicted this week on 6 counts of participating in her husband’s stealing of charitable funds.  Melodie Gliniewicz, 51, is the wife of Fox Lake Police Lt. Joe Gliniewicz, who killed himself last year.  Officials allege that her husband staged his suicide to appear as if he was killed in the line of duty pursuing three suspects.  The case prompted a massive manhunt until authorities realized it was a scam.

Mrs. Gliniewicz was charged with money laundering and paying personal expenses with funds from the Fox Lake Police Explorer Post that was headed by her late husband for over 25 years.  She held a “fiduciary role as an adult adviser” with the group, which encouraged young girls and boys to explore careers in law enforcement and the military.

The misappropriated funds were taken between 2008 and 2015 and were used for personal expenses including Starbucks, movie tickets, Dunkin’ Donuts, and vacations.  The list includes over 400 restaurant charges, according to authorities.

Melodie Gliniewicz’s attorneys asserted her innocence and said she is a victim of her late husband’s deception.

“Melodie has suffered greatly over the past few months and continues to move her family forward after the emotionally traumatizing events of September 1, 2015,” when her husband killed himself, said the law firm Kelleher & Buckley, “Considering Melodie’s cooperation with law enforcement, she is devastated by the decision to bring charges against her. Melodie is a victim of her husband’s secret actions and looks forward to her day in court…”

Lt. Gliniewicz was deemed a hero killed in the line of duty and the case reached national attention as a manhunt was instituted to find the officer’s murderers.  But, then authorities discovered that he was worried about being sent to jail for misuse of funds and that’s why he staged his death to appear a hero instead of a thief.

His death was a meticulously crafted plan. (more…)

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Ben Baker, 43, of Chicago was convicted of drug possession in 2005 and sentenced to 14 years in prison, but last year, the Exoneration Project discovered evidence that the investigators framed Baker.  He was eventually released from the Robinson Correctional Center this week and sent home.  Baker’s legal team knew for more than a day that he was no longer convicted of what a corrupt officer framed him for, but Baker had no idea.  He said, “I was coming from the gym, from a fitness class they provide there. I was standing, waiting.  The officer told me to pack my stuff. I was going home. I told him, ‘Stop playing.’ ”

“This is what we do this work for.  This conviction should have never happened, but we are delighted that once the case got on their radar, the state’s attorney’s office acted quickly and decisively,” said Joshua Tepfer, a lawyer with the Exoneration Project.

Sergeant Ronald Watts and a number of officers on his squad testified that Baker was selling drugs out of one of the city’s public housing buildings, the Ida B. Wells building.  Baker has always maintained his innocence and said that the authorities were framing him.

At trial, he testified that Sgt. Watts had previously tried to frame him for drug-related cases when he refused to give Watts $1,000 for “protection”.   Baker refused to pay the money and got out of those false charges later.  He subsequently complained to another officer Alvin Jones, but he didn’t know that Jones was part of the scheme.  Jones responded it was all “part of the game…you win some, you lose some.  Next time we get you, it will stick.”

Watts and the other officers testified that Baker was lying and the jury convicted him.

Officer Douglas Nichols, who worked under Watts’ command, testified that he saw Baker with drug bags packaged for distribution and tried to capture him, but he fled.  Officer Robert Gonzalez, also a member of Watts’ team, testified that he arrested Baker in the lobby after Baker got away from Nichols and that he found heroin, crack cocaine, and $800 in his pocket.

Baker told the court that Watts and his officers were the ones with a criminal empire in the housing complex.  They often stole narcotics proceeds and shook down dealers for “protection money”, and even pinned cases on innocent residents if they refused to play ball with them.

At the sentencing hearing, the trial judge fully believed the officers stating that he thought Baker’s accusations were unfounded.  He sentenced Baker to 18 years, but that sentence was later reduced to 14 years.  The accusations “[hold] no water at all,” Judge Toomin said.

It turns out that the criminals were the ones wearing the badges in this case. (more…)

  1. Philip Chism Convicted in his Math Teacher’s Murder and Rape
  2. UPDATED –>  Police Want a Warrant to Photograph Teen Explicitly (Detective Commits Suicide as He is Charged with Unrelated Pedophilia)
  3. Hearing Set for February 5th and Feb. 8th for Adnan Syed, the subject of the record smashing podcasting series, Serial (listen to the episodes here:  Serial Podcast:  Season 1, all 12 episodes)
  4. The son of Ethel Rosenberg, an American executed during the “Red Scare” political controversy in the 50s, wants an Exoneration for his Mother, not a pardon

“The evidence shows that my mother should not have been convicted. It was wrongly obtained through lies in testimony. She was not a spy and would not be convicted today,” Robert Meeropol said.

5.  3 Men in New York Are Innocent of Arson/Murder of Family (Amaury Villalobos, William Vasquez, and Raymond Mora), 1 died in prison, the others spent more than 30 years wrongfully imprisoned  [NYTimes]

6. Calm in Baltimore After Freddie Gray Mistrial Declaration.  Prosecutors have not yet decided whether to retry the case.  Five other officers still face trial.    [ABCNews]

“We thank this hard-working jury for their service to the public, their quest for justice, their personal sacrifice of their time and effort. We are not at all upset with them, neither should the public be upset. They did the best that they could,” said Richard Shipley, Gray’s stepfather.

7.  Hate Crimes Against Muslims Spike Across the United States (and the World:)  Where’s the Outrage? (Salon)

  • The Stunningly Long List of Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes Since San Bernardino (TPM)  [20 in just 15 days]
  • California Police and the FBI Open Hate Crimes Inquiry Into Vandalism of Mosques [NYTimes]
  • Spike In Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes Reflects America’s ‘Tremendous’ Bigotry Problem [Mint Press]
  • The Rise of the Hate Search [NYTimes]
  • SPLC Gives a Statement on Presidential Candidate Donald Trump’s Call to Ban Muslims from Immigrating to the U.S. [SPLC]

“The mainstreaming of hate and extremism is dangerous to the millions of peaceful Muslims in our country and harmful to the fabric of our society…”

In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, anti-Muslim hate crimes jumped 1,600% in the U.S.  After the 2005, London bombings, the rate of hate crimes rose 6-fold.  In 2010, they increased by 50% as anti-Muslim propaganda and speech moved into the mainstream of society.  Earlier this year, after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo’s headquarters in France, they rose 281%.  Today, anti-Muslim hate crimes are 5 times more common than 14 years ago.  These hate crimes are not unique to the U.S., in the U.K., a salon owner said she would no longer take customers of the “Islamic faith” and in Canada, a mosque in Ontario was burned and a Muslim woman was punched in the face and stomach by two men after they called her a “terrorist”.  [FBI,  Washington Post, ibTimes]

Surveys have shown that there is evidence that citizens take their leaders’ messages to heart when it comes to backlash against groups of people.

“One thing that we did find in our polling immediately in the aftermath of 9/11 is that there was a very clear sense in the data that President Bush’s statement to not blame all Muslims, to make distinctions and not lay upon the Muslim-American population a responsibility for what happened on 9/11, seemed to actually make a difference,” survey research director Scott Keeter said.

This largely seems to be missing today, with more than half of U.S. governors on both sides of the aisle openly opposing Syrian refugees and messages from front-running candidates for 2016 that are questionable at best.

“The mainstreaming of Islamophobia by a number of our nation’s political and religious leaders has encouraged the latest hate-filled actions of anti-Muslim bigots,” CAIR communications director Ibrahim Hooper said in a statement. “Now is the time for those leaders who are concerned about traditional American values of religious inclusion and tolerance to speak out…”

8.  YOU MAY HAVE MISSED IT:  The Tarboro Three Speak Out on Life After Death Row and the SPLC Case

9.  You Will Be Surprised at What Areas of the U.S. Have the Highest Incarceration Rates (Hint:  It Isn’t LA, Chicago, or NYC)  [The Incarceration Trends Project]

10.  RECOMMENDED READING:  COLD CASE JUSTICE:  INSIDE THE HUNT FOR CIVIL RIGHTS ERA KILLERS by Tim Stelloh (Fusion)