Police This week
Retired Henrico officer charged with DUI in I-295 wreck
A retired Henrico County police officer was charged with DUI early today after his pickup truck drove through safety cones into an Interstate 295 work zone and seriously injured a highway paving contractor employee.
The ex-officer was returning home from a retirement party for another officer when the wreck occurred, a source said.
Robert M. Harrison, 41, of the 3200 block of Parkwood Avenue in Richmond was in serious condition at VCU Medical Center after being struck about 12:45 a.m., said Sgt. Thomas Molnar, a State Police spokesman.
Molnar said a 2005 Chevrolet Silverado driven by John R. Tucker III, 55, of 11000 block of Challis Lane in Sandston, went into a right-lane work zone on I-295 southbound after entering from Nuckols Road. Molnar said the right and center lanes were blocked, and the entry ramp was set up to feed traffic into the left lane.
Tucker was charged with driving under the influence and refusal to submit to a blood-alcohol test, Molnar said. He was taken to the Henrico County Jail.
Officer facing assault charge
By Samantha Perry For The Register-Herald
BLUEFIELD — A Bluefield police officer was charged with unlawful assault Monday after a weekend incident in Princeton in which he allegedly punched and struck an individual with a beer bottle.
Daniel Lambert, of Princeton, a patrolman with the Bluefield Police Department, was arraigned Monday afternoon before Magistrate Charles Poe and released on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond. A Hinton police officer, Theodore White, who was allegedly with Lambert during the incident, has not been charged.
According to court records, the incident occurred around 5 a.m. Sunday morning. The victim was traveling on Thorn Street when he “thought he was being pulled over,” according to Lambert’s arrest warrant.
After pulling his car over, the victim exited his car and asked the occupants of the vehicle behind him if they were police officers, according to the arrest warrant. After the occupants stated “no,” the victim asked: “Why are you impersonating a police officer?”
At that time, the victim states in the warrant, a passenger in the front of the vehicle used pepper spray on him. The victim said at that point he could not see;“however he felt being hit by what felt like a baseball bat and heard beer bottles breaking all around him,” according to the warrant.
The victim was able to get in his car, drive toward Mercer Street and call 911, according to court documents. The victim told police he recognized the driver of the vehicle, identifying him as White.
Denver police officer suspended during excessive-force investigation
Denver police Officer Michael Morelock has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation into allegations of use of excessive force.
Morelock, 30, began working for the Denver Police Department in 2006 and racked up 21 claims of excessive force against him over his first two years in the department, according to a federal lawsuit filed last week.
Last year he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol.
Denver police spokesman John White said an internal investigation began Feb. 11. Morelock has been suspended with pay since then.
Manager of Safety Al LaCabe said a decision on Morelock’s employment status has not been made pending the outcome of the investigation.
Lawsuit cites lie, beating
On Wednesday, Denver resident Tyler Mustard filed a federal lawsuit against the city and county of Denver, Morelock and Officer Kimberly Thompson.
The claim says Morelock beat him without provocation and lied about being hit by Mustard during the arrest.
Mustard claims Thompson helped Morelock beat him near East 12th Avenue and Pearl Street on June 17, 2008, because they suspected he spray-painted a van.
Mustard’s lawsuit says he had head injuries and a collapsed lung after he was beaten with a flashlight or a baton.
Denver prosecutors charged Mustard with assaulting a police officer.
During a preliminary hearing in that case, Morelock testified that Mustard struck him in the head with a blunt object and said he almost lost consciousness.
Mustard’s suit says Morelock didn’t tell medical personnel that his head was injured and claims he made it up to justify the beating.
A Denver judge dismissed the criminal case against Mustard.
Mustard’s lawsuit claims that just hours before Morelock arrested him, the officer was questioned by internal affairs about an excessive force allegation made by Alonzo Barrett.
Barrett told police that Morelock beat him with a billy club and that witnesses saw Morelock break his own patrol car window during the incident. Morelock contended Barrett broke his window, the suit claims.
The internal affairs bureau referred the Barrett case to the Denver district attorney. Prosecutors declined to prosecute Morelock, the suit says.
Lynn Kimbrough, spokeswoman for the district attorney, said prosecutors could not locate the file late Friday but said it’s likely charges could not be proved to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.
In October 2009, Morelock and three fellow officers — Adam Barrett, Sgt. Stephen Kenfield and Eric Golladay — were sued by Nick Lynch, of Lakewood, who was arrested March 29, 2008, after a fight in Lower Downtown.
Lynch claims he was beaten during his arrest and that Morelock, who witnessed the arrest, declined to identify the arresting officer.
In February 2009, the Colorado State Patrol arrested Morelock in Commerce City for driving under the influence. He pleaded guilty to the charge.
Josue Tapia still has the marks on his body to prove it. The problem is: Police got the wrong guy.
CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot talked to him in his hospital room.
Tapia shows marks he says were caused by a stun gun used by Chicago police. Tapia says he’s been hospitalized for the past six days and was shackled to his hospital bed.
"I remember the voltage, because I was screaming," he says. "I just remember being on the floor all the time, pain in my back, you know, being stomped on."
Tapia says he was with his wife, Marlyn, Saturday night in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. They had just bought milk for their one-year-old child. They were pulled over by police for a traffic stop.
"They said they ran his name and he didn’t have no warrant, so that’s the reason why they let him go," Marlyn recalls.
According to the police report, moments later, the computer in the squad car showed there was an active warrant for Tapia’s arrest, matching his description. Officers turned around because they had probable cause to stop him.
Josue Tapia says he thinks police then told him there was a warrant out on him. Things went bad from there, the couple says.
"All my husband did was turn around and say, ‘What’s going on officer?’" Marlyn said. "That’s when the officer grabbed him and threw him there and said, ‘Stop resisting!’"
She said police were "on top of him, attacking him." Police used a stun gun on him five times, the wife says.
The police report says, after further investigation, the warrant that officers were investigating, was not for Josue Tapia. Instead, a "Juan Tapia" with the same date of birth was wanted on a warrant.
Josue Tapia says the mixup has been a "nightmare" for him.