National Roundup

Man who lost phone fleeing cops posts online: Don’t call me

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — Authorities say a Pennsylvania drug suspect who dropped his cellphone while running away from police took to Facebook to warn his friends not to call that phone number.

Lackawanna County detectives say 25-year-old Scranton resident James Lee Hankins fled when police tried to arrest him for an undercover drug deal involving heroin and cocaine on Monday afternoon.

Police say a woman who knew Hankins let them search her apartment, and they found him minutes later in her basement on a computer that had a page open to Facebook. Detectives say Hankins posted a message telling friends he’d be off Facebook for a while and asking them not to call his phone until he said otherwise.

Online court records don’t list an attorney for Hankins.

Family of jail suicide victim awarded $11.9M

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — A federal jury has awarded $11.9 million to the wife and family of a man who killed himself in a Pennsylvania jail.

Mumun Barbaros stuffed his shredded T-shirt down his throat and died in 2009 at the Monroe County jail. He was a pizza shop owner being held on charges that he vandalized the shops of two competitors.

The (Wilkes-Barre) Citizens’ Voice reports Tuesday that the verdict was returned last week against PrimeCare Medical and several employees. The company provided medical care at the jail in Stroudsburg, and its attorney says they all plan to appeal.

The county settled claims out of court for $25,000 before trial.

The lawsuit claims medical staff failed to properly evaluate Barbaros’ risk for suicide.

‘Desperate’ dad who dragged teen through school faces prison

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut man who gave his 13-year-old daughter bruises and rug burns when he dragged her through school has been convicted of risk of injury to a minor and faces up to 10 years in prison.

The Day of New London reports that a six-member jury deliberated for about four hours before convicting 35-year-old Mark Thornton on Monday. He was acquitted of second-degree breach of peace.

Prosecutors say the Mashun­tucket man dragged the eighth-grader by the wrists and ankles from outside a classroom to the main office in September 2015 after she refused to leave with him for a counseling appointment.

Thornton testified in his own defense that he was in “desperate straits” because the girl kept running away.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 14.

Federal civil rights suit filed in inmate’s death

MIAMI (AP) — A federal civil rights lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the 12-year-old daughter of a Florida inmate, alleging he was gassed while in a confinement cell and that officials tried to cover up his death.

Randall Jordan-Aparo’s 2010 death at Franklin Correctional Institution was publicized amid scrutiny of the Florida Department of Corrections for suspicious deaths.

The lawsuit filed Monday in Tallahassee federal court by the mother of Jordan-Aparo’s daughter alleges corrections officers killed him and the prison’s nurses, doctors and warden conspired to cover up his death.
The 27-year-old’s death is under investigation by state and federal law enforcement.

Spokeswomen for the Department of Corrections and the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida each declined comment to The Miami Herald on the lawsuit.

Corrections investigators also have alleged cover-ups by the corrections department in separate lawsuits over Jordan-Aparo’s death.

New York
Cops suspended in groundhog and golf cart incident 

TROY, N.Y. (AP) — Two upstate New York police officers have been suspended without pay after they were investigated for allegedly using a golf cart to run down and kill a groundhog during a golf outing.

The Times Union of Albany reports officials in the city of Rensselaer said Monday that the officers were suspended because they failed to disclose to their police department that authorities in nearby Troy were investigating the killing of a woodchuck on a golf course in July.

Witnesses told police the two officers used a golf cart to chase the animal around, then ran over and killed it during a police union golf outing in Troy.

Troy police said earlier this month they wouldn’t charge the officers because there wasn’t enough information to warrant charges.

Mexican police: Cannon used to shoot drugs to U.S.

DOUGLAS, Ariz. (AP) — Mexican authorities believe that a stolen truck outfitted with a cannon and parked near the U.S.-Mexico border was used to launch items into Douglas, Arizona.

Federal police found the van parked in a street in Agua Prieta, Mexico, which borders with Douglas, last week. The van had been reported stolen out of Hermosillo over the summer.

Photos provided by Mexican authorities show a black van with a giant cannon coming out of it.

Drug smugglers have used similar methods in the past, including using catapults to literally send drugs flying over the border. Douglas border residents have found bales of marijuana in their backyards in the past.

3 more officers charged in police sex scandal

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Prosecutors in Northern California have charged three current and former officers for their alleged involvement in a wide-ranging police sex scandal involving a teenager.

The Alameda County district attorney on Monday charged Oakland Police Officers Giovani LoVerde and Brian Bunton and former Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Deputy Ricardo Perez.

Court documents show LoVerde was charged with felony oral copulation with a minor. Bunton was charged with felony conspiracy to obstruct justice for overt acts for allegedly alerting the teen about an undercover prostitution sting on International Boulevard, where she was prostituting herself. Perez was charged with felony oral copulation with a minor and two misdemeanor counts of engaging in lewd conduct for public sex acts.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the officers had an attorney who could comment on their behalf.

Two former police officers, one from Oakland and one from Livermore, were charged in the case last week.