Posts Tagged ‘grand jury’

Cop Accused Of Tipping Drug Dealers In Grand Jury Probe

September 6, 2009

Monongahela Police Veteran George Langan Arrested On Drug, Corruption Charges

WASHINGTON, Pa. — An 18-year veteran of the Monongahela Police Department was arrested while on duty Friday morning, following a grand jury investigation of drug and corruption allegations.

 Patrolman George Langan, 45, of Monongahela, declined comment to Team 4 investigator Jim Parsons as he arrived at the Washington County Courthouse, still wearing his uniform.

“The charges allege Langan protected drug dealers — first by alerting them to pending searches and arrests — and that he also revealed critical, highly confidential police information of counter-narcotics efforts in that area,” District Attorney Steven Toprani said

Langan is accused of accepting cash and cocaine for personal use and helping alleged dealers in exchange, said Toprani, who revealed that Langan came under investigation in June “after drug task force detectives from my county office suspected that several heroin and cocaine investigations were compromised by tip-offs that he allegedly made to targets of those investigations.”

Police Chief Brian Tempest — who worked alongside Langan as a patrolman until last year — wasn’t surprised by the arrest.

 “We had rumors for at least 10 years that George Langan was involved in illegal activity,” said Tempest.

 Langan was arraigned at District Judge Curtis Thompson’s office and taken to Washington County Correctional Facility on $500,000 bond. A hearing was scheduled for Sept. 16.

 WTAE Channel 4’s news exchange partners at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that the charges include obstruction of justice, hindering apprehension, official oppression, possession and delivery of suspected cocaine, conspiracy and witness intimidation.

 Law enforcement sources told Team 4 that Langan tried to hide his payoffs by using them to buy real estate in the Bentleyville area.

 The FBI, state police and the state attorney general’s office assisted with the investigation.


$1.15M settlement in suit over 1995 NYPD shooting

March 23, 2009

By COLLEEN LONG, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK – The families of two robbery suspects who died in a barrage of police bullets more than a decade ago settled a lawsuit with the city Friday for $1.15 million.

The families’ attorneys had just rested their case during the trial when the deal was announced. Relatives had sought $20 million, but their attorney said they were content, accepting the settlement as affirmation that excessive force was used.

“We believe justice has been done,” lawyer Seth Harris said. “The city waved the white flag, and this clearly shows the officers used excessive force, and these boys didn’t have to die.”

Hilton Vega was shot eight times and his cousin Anthony Rosario 14 times when they arrived at an apartment on Jan. 12, 1995. The officers, James Crowe and Patrick Brosnan, had been there interviewing residents on a tip that a robbery would take place.

The victims were face-down on the ground when they were killed. Some of the 28 shots fired hit the floorboards.

The city Law Department continued to defend the now-retired officers. A New York Police Department investigation found the officers acted within department guidelines, and a grand jury in the Bronx brought no criminal charges. Federal prosecutors said there wasn’t enough evidence for them to pursue charges.

“We believe that our police officers acted appropriately when confronted with three armed gunmen after being called by a man in fear of his life,” said Fay Leoussis, chief of the Law Department’s Tort Division. “However, we have agreed to resolve these cases in light of the uncertainties of litigation.”

Versions of what happened the night of the shooting varied greatly during the civil trial, including who was shot first, how the men came to be face-down, and what the detectives were doing at the apartment.

Crowe and Brosnan were there for at least an hour before Rosario and Vega arrived. The victims said they had come to the building to collect a debt they believed was owed to one of their girlfriends in a scam run by the man who lived at the apartment.

The officers told them to get on the ground and opened fire when Rosario and Vega did not comply quickly enough. Vega, 21, and the 18-year-old Rosario died, and another man with them was injured. The men were armed, but they fired no shots.

The officers retired from the force on a disability pension related to the incident in 1996.

The shooting happened during an era of community outrage against then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani‘s administration over allegations of excessive force by police officers who, like those in the Bronx case, received little or no punishment. Critics said the NYPD had overlooked incriminating details because Brosnan served as a volunteer bodyguard for the mayor’s 1993 campaign.