It was a particularly busy week for corrupt cops, from arson to rape to sheer ineptitude. While many deserve the top spot on today’s edition of Top 5 Police Blunders of the Week, the title ultimately goes to Providence Detective Robert DeCarlo, who recently beat a man into a coma with a flashlight…
5. John Clifford Gore You know this week’s list is well-stocked with winners if we’re starting you off with a cop charged with arson. It came as a complete shock to the town of Mineral Wells, Texas when John Clifford Gore was arrested last week. A fresh-faced family man, Gore had been on the police force for three years. The 26-year-old father of two was well-known around town. A 2001 graduate of Mineral Wells High School, Gore had never been in trouble before. People described him as a “good kid” who never showed any signs of a disturbed mind. His Facebook page was riddled with little more than excitement over his impending nuptials. But there was obviously something very wrong beneath Gore’s squeaky clean exterior.
At around 2 a.m. on February 17, Gore was pulled over in his silver Ford pickup, which matched a description given to police earlier that night in connection with a fire that had been set to a nearby building. Police said Gore smelled of gasoline and smoke. They also found a gas can in the bed of his truck. After being confronted with the evidence, Gore was arrested and quickly charged with not one but three different fires. One of the fires Gore set was in an industrial park, where a volunteer firefighter was injured and sent to the hospital. Another fire turned a former two-story army barrack into little more than rubble. The final fire was set to a family business, where more than $1 million in aviation memorabilia being saved for a future museum was destroyed. The owners were heartbroken, having known Gore since he went to school with their son. There is no news of why Gore set the fires. He is currently being held on a $95,000 bail bond. The chief of police has said that a possible accomplice has been questioned and there may be more charges pending.
4. Edward White We’re hoping that Corrections Officer Edward White really loves his work environment, because it doesn’t look like he’ll be leaving it any time soon. On Friday, White was arraigned on three charges of sexually exploiting an inmate. He is now being held in lieu of $100,000 bail at Chittenden Correction Facility in Vermont.
White’s problems began last February, when a female inmate at the Northeast State Correctional Facility, where White worked as a guard, complained that he’d sexually assaulted her. The 40-year-old was suspended while Vermont State Police investigated. However, prosecutors claimed their wasn’t enough evidence to move forward with the case and White was reinstated just last month. Bad decision. In just that brief amount of time, two more inmates came forward with similar claims of White’s sexual advances just after his return. Again, White was suspended and a new investigation was launched. Now, police say they have enough evidence to charge White in all three cases, including the 2009 incident. Looks like the only jailhouse love that White will now be getting will be of the forceable sodomy variety.
3. Pittsburgh Emergency Medical Services While paramedics aren’t cops, they are definitely charged with the important duty of maintaining the public’s safety — a task that the Pittsburgh EMS fell horrifically short of this month, thus landing them a well-deserved spot on this list.
On February 12, 50-year-old Curtis Mitchell called 911 complaining of abdominal pains. The dispatcher said an ambulance would be on its way. But half an hour later, help was no where to be found. Mitchell and his fiancée, Sharon Edge, called again. And again. And again. Finally, an ambulance did show up, not at Mitchell’s house, but at the very end of his street. Unfortunately, Mitchell got sick just as a snowstorm hit the Pittsburgh area. His house lost both electricity and gas. And his street, covered in over 15 inches of snow, had yet to be plowed. The paramedics were worried they’d get stuck. They were also, apparently, the laziest EMS workers in America. Instead of trying to make it to Mitchell, they had a dispatcher call his house and ask him to walk down to their truck. Edge explained that Mitchell was, obviously, in too much pain to walk and asked that the paramedics come to them instead. But they never did. After three days, over 10 calls to 911, and not one attempt on the part of paramedics to walk to the house, Mitchell died a very unnecessary death. None of the EMS workers have been disciplined, even though Pittsburgh’s Public Safety Director Michael Huss has said that if they had just done their job — gotten out of their truck and walked down the street — Mitchell would still be alive.
2. Camden Police Department Pittsburgh isn’t the only city that appears to be suffering from the general ineptitude of public safety personnel. Looks like Camden, New Jersey has its own share of corruption as well. Four Camden police officers were recently suspended after an FBI investigation into the city’s Police Department turned up a heap of dysfunction. It turns out that Antonio Figueroa, Jason Stetser, Kevin Parry, and Robert Bayard were all behaving more like mobsters than police officers. The four cops were busted for everything from railroading suspects to pocketing drugs and money while frisking people. New Jersey Public Defender Yvonne Smith Segars has said that she hasn’t seen corruption on this scale in over a quarter of a century.
Thanks to the reckless behavior of these four cops, 30 convictions have already been vacated because of their actions. Some of those people might belong in jail too, if it wasn’t for tainted evidence and general police bungling. At least one man found himself in prison after police officers planted drugs on him after he refused to snitch on drug dealers in the area. Two of three cases have been dropped against him. Officials are expecting a slew of other cases to be tossed out as well. It must be bad since the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office refuses to comment on how many more bad convictions it has on its hand. Similarly, the FBI refuses to comment on its investigation, which is still ongoing and, in the past few months, has spiraled into a full-blown scandal as more officers face impending suspensions and, likely, criminal charges.
1. Robert DeCarlo We’re pretty sure that whatever Luis Mendoca was up to on the night of October 20 wasn’t entirely kosher. But we’re also sure that a coma wasn’t exactly what he deserved, either. On that night, Providence, Rhode Island police were called to a parking lot near the Rhode Island School of Design, where, apparently, they were trying to apprehend a burglary suspect. That’s when Detective Robert DeCarlo showed up. The 45-year-old had been on the force for more than 16 years and working as a detective for nearly 6 1/2. However, footage from a security camera betrays the kind of behavior one would expect from a seasoned officer. By the time DeCarlo arrived on the scene, officers had already placed 20-year-old Mendoca in handcuffs. But that didn’t seem to stop DeCarlo from doing what he did next.
On tape, you can see DeCarlo kicking and punching Mendoca as he lies on the ground, surrounded by a swarm of officers and security guards. On several occasions, DeCarlo can also be seen bashing his flashlight into the suspects head until Mendoca goes limp and the cops then drag his body up a flight of steps. After the incident, Mendoca landed in the hospital, where he received 12 staples to a gash in his head and laid in a coma for two days. Still, it was Mendoca who was charged, not DeCarlo. In December, Mendoca was sentenced to one year of probation for assaulting RISD security guards. He is currently being held by US Immigration for possible deportation, too. However, shortly after Mendoca’s sentence was handed down, the security footage from that night was released to the public. And it appears that DeCarlo was the only one doing any of the attacking. The Providence Police Department finally suspended DeCarlo and launched an investigation into the case. On Monday, a grand jury indicted DeCarlo on charges of assault with a dangerous weapon. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison. (Source)