Top 5 Police Blunders Of The Week

5. Anthony Chiofalo For our first course of the day, we offer up nothing but the finest for you, dear reader: a plate of steaming, pot-laced spaghetti and meatballs. Yup. You heard us right. Marijuana meatballs. Unfortunately, we cannot take credit for such an incredibly creative concept de cuisine. That dubious honor goes to the wife of New York City counterterrorism detective Anthony Chiofalo. In 2005, Chiofalo was suspended after failing a random drug test. Two years later, he was officially fired after serving 22 years on the force.  But Chiofalo didn’t leave the NYPD without a fight. The same year he was fired, he filed a lawsuit challenging his termination. He also said that his failed drug test wasn’t a result of smoking weed – it was from unwittingly eating his wife’s meatballs.  His wife Catherine told investigators that she’d purposely substituted marijuana for oregano. She said she used up to six joints worth each time she made the recipe. She also claimed she did it with the intention of getting her husband fired.  Catherine had expected her husband to retire after 20 years on the force, the suit claims. But after 9/11, when his firefighter brother was killed, Chiofalo decided to stay on a bit longer and applied to be part of the department’s counterterrorism unit.  Fearing her husband would also be killed on the job, she decided to sabotage his career with her tasty Italian-American treats. And it worked. A little too well. During a lie detector test, Catherine broke down in tears when she said that she was worried her husband would divorce her if he found out about her plan. Chiofalo didn’t, in fact, divorce his wife. He claimed he was simply stunned by her plan and hoped that his new alibi would land him back on the force. But the courts weren’t so impressed by the Chiofalos’s story. Last week, a state court upheld his dismissal. The police department’s lawyer, Edward Hart, says that there was simply too much marijuana in Chiofalo’s system for the meatballs to explain. 

​4. Anthony Tuleta When Barry Bonds or Jose Canseco are caught with a butt cheek full of ‘roids, we may not be happy about it, but we certainly aren’t shocked. After all, professional sports and steroids seem to go together like coffee and cream.  But when we get wind of a 51-year-old police officer from Cleveland, Ohio addicted to the juice, we gotta tilt our heads in puzzlement. Since when did human growth hormones replace donuts?  That’s the question we asked ourselves when we first heard about Anthony Tuleta.  Tuleta had served 27 years with the Cleveland Police Department, until he was suspended without pay in November.  It turns out that Tuleta had been caught buying steroids for non-medical reasons from a doctor out in Santa Ana, California named Dr. Ramon Scruggs. He also submitted a total of $95,000 in claims to his insurance carrier, Medical Mutual, for the drug.  On February 3, Tuleta was found guilty by a Cuyahoga County Court on six counts of drug possession and one count of theft. He now faces up to 24 years in prison — a steep price for some beefed up biceps.  As for Dr. Scruggs — last month he was sentenced to three years in prison for prescribing the drug for non-medical reasons since 2003. And it turns out Tuleta wasn’t his only Cleveland customer.  Apparently, Craig Romey, a Cleveland fire fighter, was also buying steroids from Scruggs and then submitting claims to Medical Mutual. He served 30 days in May after pleading guilty to drug possession and has since been fired. 

3. Paul Lawrence You always know when traffic ticket quotas come due for your local police department. Suddenly, the roads are swarming with cops hungry for speeding drivers. But for one Miami, Florida cop, hitting the road in search of last-minute traffic violators was just too much of a hassle. That’s when 38-year-old highway patrol trooper Paul Lawrence got creative. While the rest of his colleagues were busting their butts the old school way, Lawrence decided to stay behind at his desk to work on writing some really stellar fiction in the form of traffic citations. The 12-year veteran used private information about motorist he’d previously stopped in order to write-up bogus traffic tickets for them. In November, alone, he submitted 397 tickets, 82 of which lacked signatures from violators, and 203 of which were eventually dismissed. One man was in Peru settling his divorce during the time in which Lawrence claims he committed his infraction. Another 85 victims have also been identified — folks who weren’t even in the state or in the country at the time Lawrence slapped them with traffic violations. Lawrence’s superiors finally caught onto his scam, and this month he was thrown in jail. He has been placed on administrative leave and now faces 22 counts of official misconduct, a third-degree felony.

 ​2. Frank Tepper Sometimes having a cop live on your street is a nice thing. It gives you that added sense of security – just that much more piece of mind.  Not so for the neighbors of Philadelphia officer Frank Tepper. At around 11 p.m. on November 21, a brawl broke out between a group of teenagers on Tepper’s street. The 43-year-old emerged from his house in an attempt to help break up the fight. But it appears he only made things worse. Among the group was 21-year-old William Panas. Panas’s father says that his son was also outside trying to stop the fight after one of his friends was punched in the face. As Tepper tore through the group, he received a few blows himself. That’s when he got fed up and pulled out his gun, aiming it directly at Panas, who stopped and said, “Come on, you’re not going to shoot me.” 
Tepper called Panas’s bluff and fired two shots into the young man’s chest, killing him immediately. Tepper later claimed that Panas had assaulted him and he had no choice but to fire his weapon. But witnesses didn’t agree. They claimed that Tepper was drunk and that Panas never even threatened the officer, a 16-year veteran of the force.  After investigating the case, police determined that the witnesses were right and last month Tepper was stripped of his badge. But that wasn’t good enough for Panas’s dad. Since the shooting, friends and family have been busy printing t-shirts and sweatshirts, writing letters, holding vigils and distributing flyers and orange ribbons throughout the neighborhood in hopes of finding justice. On Tuesday morning, they finally got what they wanted when Tepper turned himself into police after being charged with murder. He is being held without bail until his preliminary hearing on February 17. 

1. Joshua Gines While little beats out an allegedly murderous cop, we still feel that Bingen-White Salmon, Washington police officer Joshua Gines is well-deserving of today’s No. 1 spot, if not for the sheer horror of his crimes, than for the brazen way in which he has admitted to them. The 30-year-old Gines had been on the force for little more than three years when he decided to apply for a Road Deputy position with the Skamania County Sheriff’s Department. During the background interview for the job, Gines was asked a series of routine questions, including “have you committed any sexual crime with a child who is under the age of 18 years?” Gines responded “yes.”  We’re not sure if he thought “pedophile” was part of the job description, but his answer quickly sent up a red flag. After further investigation into Gines’ admission, the officer was charged with not only first-degree child molestation, but also second-degree incest. Details of the case have not been released, though we’re sure they are sordid and sad. Even creepier is the fact that almost as soon as he was arrested, Gines posted his $50,000 bail and was released from jail. He is also on PAID administrative leave, pending the outcome of the case.  (Source)

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