Thursday, November 04, 2004

Even More Hartford Connecticut Police Misconduct


Accused Detective In Court Evidence Tampering Charged;

Colleagues Show Support
November 4, 2004 By TINA A. BROWN, Courant Staff Writer

The last time more than two dozen Hartford police officers stood in Superior Court in Hartford to support a fellow officer accused of committing a crime, Robert Murtha was accused of shooting at a suspect.

On Wednesday, Murtha and a throng of other officers dressed mostly in plainclothes stood along the same brick wall, in support of Det. Nathaniel Ortiz who stands accused of tampering with evidence in an undercover drug case.

Through his lawyer Michael Georgetti, Ortiz, 31, of New Britain, stated his innocence. The charge, of tampering with or fabricating evidence, stems from allegations lodged by Hartford Police Department internal affairs investigators that Ortiz and Sgt. Franco Sanzo did not have probable cause when they applied for a search warrant to raid the home of Raynette Woodard on Sept. 2.

Ortiz has been on the police force for nine years and has served in the narcotics division for three years.

The search warrant application and a subsequent prosecutor's report, signed and sworn to by Ortiz, court documents show, contained a series of "untruths" about the necessity for a search of Woodard's home and her arrest on felony gun charges. The court document released Wednesday said Ortiz swore to prosecutors and a Superior Court judge in Hartford that during an undercover operation on Aug. 27, a confidential informant bought crack cocaine and marijuana from Woodard's son, Michael, who was standing outside the family's home at 37 Green St. in Hartford.

But Michael Woodard, 22, was in prison at the time and could not have sold the drugs to the informant, the document said. After the undercover sting, internal affairs investigators found that another detective, William Ward, documented that "the confidential informant only purchased one item, a white rock-like substance, crack cocaine," he initialed the evidence bag as proof.

The police investigators contend that after Ward's evidence was placed in the Hartford Police Department's property room, Ortiz added a "ziplock bag containing a plant-like substance," into the bag containing the crack cocaine, apparently to bolster his case, court records show.After the house was raided and Raynette Woodard was arrested, Ortiz wrote in a prosecutor's report that Michael Woodard had been misidentified. He said that the confidential informant had purchased the drugs from Antoine Declaybrook, a convicted drug dealer whom Ortiz had arrested three times before, the court record shows.

Also during the raid, Det. Pedro Rivera told investigators, he told Ortiz that he had found a .25-caliber semiautomatic pistol in the overhead compartment of a car parked in the garage, court records show. But instead of charging Lloyd McLaughlin, the owner of the vehicle, with possession of an illegal gun, court records show, Ortiz charged Raynette Woodard with criminal possession of the gun - a charge generally lodged against convicted felons, which she is not.

Charges against Woodard and McLaughlin were dropped within a week of their arrests.

During the hearing Wednesday, Georgetti, Ortiz's lawyer, argued against a request by Hartford State's Attorney James Thomas that the case be transferred to part A, where the most serious criminal cases are prosecuted.

"I don't think this case should be handled differently just because he is a police officer," Georgetti said.

Thomas said, however, that other cases involving Hartford police officers have been handled in Part A, so Ortiz wasn't being treated any differently.

Judge Frank M. D'Addabbo Jr. agreed to transfer the case to Judge Thomas P. Miano, who would decide whether to transfer Ortiz' case and that of Sanzo, who also is charged with tampering with evidence.

Sanzo, who retired just before his arrest, did not appear in court Wednesday but D'Addabbo continued his case along with Ortiz's case to Nov. 17.

D'Addabbo granted Georgetti's motion to order the police department to preserve its radio communications and its recording of all cellphone calls by the officers who participated in the drug raids on Aug. 27 and Sept. 2.

Thomas said after the hearing that his office is reviewing all pending cases in which Ortiz and Sanzo were the arresting officers.

"We will look at them on a case-by-case basis," Thomas said, adding that the review could take some time because it could consist of hundreds of pending criminal cases.

Georgetti said the review would not result in any tainted cases.

"They will find that the investigations were done in accordance with Hartford Police Department procedures. They were all good arrests.

"Georgetti said he hopes to find in discovery that Ortiz is a victim of an internal affairs investigation that was "rushed." He said the investigators "committed a series of errors," and they arrested Ortiz without the necessary probable cause.

The above from the Hartford Courant found (here)

Fair use of copyrighted material

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Does the Connecticut State Police Officers cover-up GAY BASHING of homosexual officers and members of the public? Post


Blogger The Stark Raving Viking said...

my links no longer work, that is since 2006.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 1:28:00 AM  

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