Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Deputy Ivan James Morris - Convicted - Muskegon SD

Also See:

Deputy Ivan James Morris charged with domestic violence






On June 28, 2004, Muskegon County Sheriff Deputy Ivan James Morris assaulted his ex-girlfriend. According to reports the 6' 3", 280 pound sheriff deputy threw a drink at the 5' 2", 125 pound woman's head; grabbed her by the neck; and then pushed her to the ground. Both the victim and an eye witness told the police, that during the attack,  Morris said that he was going to kill her.  Deputy Morris was arrested and charged with misdemeanor domestic violence.

















During the non-jury trial in November, Deputy Morris claimed that the victim attacked him. Morris testified that he grabbed his ex-girlfriend's arm and "threw her down"...but that he did so to protect himself. "She was going to hit me...To keep a person off me, that what I would do to anyone." 











The Judge obviously did not believe Deputy Morris' claim that he acted in self-defense, as he found Morris guilty of misdemeanor domestic violence. Judge Andrew J. Wierengo III found Sheriff's Deputy Ivan James Morris, guilty of assault and battery/domestic violence.










Muskegon County Sheriff George Jerkas did not dismiss Deputy Morris from the Sheriff Department for: 1] The false testimony he gave during trial regarding a crime he committed; or 2] for the domestic violence assault.








As of 2012, Deputy Ivan James Morris was still employed at the Muskegon County Sheriff Department.













Sheriff's Deputy convicted on domestic violence charge
A Muskegon County jail guard has been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence.
November 17, 2004
By John S. Hausman
Muskegon Chronicle, MI
http://www.mlive.com/news/muchronicle/index.ssf?/base/news-5/1100708127304840.xml

After a non jury trial Tuesday, Chief 60th District Judge Andrew J. Wierengo III found Sheriff's Deputy Ivan James Morris, 37, of 6389 Evanston guilty as charged of assault and battery/domestic violence, first offense.

Wierengo ordered a domestic violence assessment and scheduled sentencing for Dec. 28. The maximum possible sentence is 93 days in jail.

The case stemmed from a June 28 incident between the off-duty Morris and his 39-year-old ex-girlfriend during Muskegon Summer Celebration in the crowded Mike's Bar, 555 W. Western.

Witness testimony conflicted at Morris' trial, but by all accounts an angry confrontation between the two ended with Morris pushing or throwing the woman to the floor of the bar.

Prosecution witnesses called it an unprovoked assault that started with Morris throwing his drink on the back of the woman's head, then grabbing her by the neck and swinging her onto the floor.

Morris, on the other hand, testified he acted in self-defense. He said his drink spilled accidentally on the woman when his arm was jostled in the crowd while he was carrying it across the room. He said she then threw several drinks she was carrying at him, then started to swing her fist at him. He testified he grabbed her arm and "threw her down" to defend himself, causing her to fall. "She was going to hit me. ... To keep a person off me, that's what I would do to anybody," Morris testified.

No one testified to any visible injuries on the victim.

The judge said that even if he believed most of Morris' account, the deputy still overreacted and of assault. Wierengo noted the difference in size of the two people: Morris told the judge he is approximately 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 280 pounds and the woman is 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 120 pounds. "It was a force that seemed to me disproportionate to the situation," Wierengo said.

Afterward, Sheriff George Jurkas suspended Morris from his job as a jail guard for five days without pay. "It's unfortunate," Jurkas said of the situation. "Hopefully he'll put it behind him, and it won't happen again."

The sheriff said the discipline would have been more severe had the victim suffered injuries. Jurkas also noted that Morris, unlike road-patrol deputies, does not carry a firearm in the course of his job, meaning a misdemeanor conviction won't render him unable to do his work.was guilty



Sunday, November 14, 2004

Officer Joanne Buiwitt-Schafer - Ann Arbor PD





Ann Arbor Police Officer Joann Buiwitt-Shafer assaulted her boyfriend in the parking lot of the Vicksburg Hide-Away Bar on November 14, 2004.  According to the police reports, Ann Arbor Officer Buiwitt-Shafer punched, kicked and dragged her boyfriend.











When police officers from the Vicksburg Police Department arrived at the scene, they arrested one of the witnesses, because Officer Buiwitt-Shafer falsely claimed the witness had stolen her purse.  During the March 2005 trial, Officer Buiwitt-Shafter admitted that she had lied to the police about the witness stealing her purse.






At trial, jurors found Officer Buiwitt-Shafer guilty of aggravated domestic assault. She was sentenced to a year on probation.




Officer Joanne Buiwitt-Shafer was fired from the Ann Arbor Police Department.












Fired officer placed on probation for domestic assault
Kalamazoo County jury finds her guilty of attacking boyfriend
Saturday, March 26, 2005
BY AMALIE NASH
http://www.mlive.com/news/aanews/index.ssf?/base/news-12/1111835463181820.xml

A fired Ann Arbor police officer has been placed on 12 months probation by a Kalamazoo County judge for aggravated domestic assault in the criminal case that led to her termination.

Joanne Buiwitt-Shafer, 39, was also ordered to pay a fine and court costs of $795 after being convicted by a jury Thursday of assaulting her boyfriend following a confrontation at a bar in Vicksburg, near Kalamazoo. The 17-year veteran officer was fired from the Ann Arbor Police Department following an internal investigation into the Nov. 14 incident.

A related charge of larceny less than $200 against Buiwitt-Shafer was dropped earlier after the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor's Office determined that charge didn't fit the case. She was accused in that charge of taking the cell phone from the boyfriend that she was convicted of beating.

According to police reports of the incident, Buiwitt-Shafer and a 48-year-old man identified as her boyfriend were at the Hide-Away Bar when he became upset with her and left. He told police she found him, tried to get him into her car and then began punching and kicking him while dragging him toward the car, the reports said.

Buiwitt-Shafer said Friday that she is appealing the verdict. She told The News in January that the police reports contained inaccurate information, but declined to comment further about the decision or her testimony in court.

A witness told police that he was across the railroad tracks from the parking lot and saw a person lying on the ground and someone above that person kicking and punching him, reports said. The witness said he yelled at them to stop fighting, then ran to Buiwitt-Shafer's car, grabbed the keys to prevent her from leaving before police arrived, and went to a nearby party store to call 911, reports said.

Reports said that Buiwitt-Shafer yelled that the witness who was holding her keys had gotten into her car and stolen the keys and her purse. The witness was handcuffed for a short time and placed in a police cruiser after Buiwitt-Shafer accused him of stealing her purse, reports said.

Authorities said in January that they believed the witness had not taken Buiwitt-Shafer's purse, and that she made the claims to divert attention from the assault.

Kalamazoo County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Carrie Klein said Buiwitt-Shafer admitted on the stand that she lied when she said the witness had taken her purse.

"This case says something important about domestic violence - that it does not matter who you are or what your occupation is, domestic violence is not appropriate," Klein said.

Ann Arbor Police Chief Daniel Oates called the incident a sad chapter in the department's history and said the department took swift action.

"We hold our officers to a very high standard in their on- and off-duty conduct," Oates said. "This incident showed she was not worthy of being a member of our department."

Aggravated domestic violence, which requires a serious or aggravated injury less than great bodily harm, is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.













Assault charges lead to officer's firing
Longtime Ann Arbor cop denies beating her boyfriend outside bar in November
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
BY AMALIE NASH
The Ann Arbor News
http://www.mlive.com/news/aanews/index.ssf?/base/news-11/1105542608248690.xml

A veteran Ann Arbor police officer has been fired from her job after she was charged with severely beating her boyfriend and stealing his cell phone after leaving a bar on the west side of the state.

Joanne Buiwitt-Shafer, 39, was charged in a warrant with aggravated domestic violence and larceny less than $200 and will go to trial on the charges Jan. 25.

Buiwitt-Shafer, who was employed at the Ann Arbor Police Department for nearly 17 years, on Tuesday called the case "an alleged incident" and said she believed she would be vindicated in court.

"I will have my day in court," Buiwitt-Shafer said. "It's too bad the city had to render a decision before I had my day in court."

Police Chief Daniel Oates said Buiwitt-Shafer was placed on paid administrative leave following the Nov. 14 incident in Vicksburg, near Kalamazoo, and was fired Dec. 21 after an internal investigation. Oates said he could not elaborate on the department's investigation.

"I think the actions of the department speak for itself," Oates said. "The conduct here is not acceptable for an Ann Arbor police officer."

According to police reports, the incident took place around 8 p.m. Nov. 14 in Vicksburg after Buiwitt-Shafer and a 48-year-old man identified in police reports as her boyfriend were at the Hide-Away Bar.

Reports say the victim said he became upset with Buiwitt-Shafer and left the bar after she lifted her top and exposed herself to other customers. He told police she found him, tried to get him into her car and then began punching and kicking him while dragging him toward the car, the reports said.

Buiwitt-Shafer told police that night that she was trying to get the man into her car, but could not explain his injuries, reports said. Police reports said the man had cuts and bruises, a bloody nose and complained of not being able to breathe because of soreness of his rib cage.

Buiwitt-Shafer said Tuesday that she was advised by her attorney not to discuss the case because it is pending, but that the police reports contain inaccurate information.

A witness told police that he was across the railroad tracks from the parking lot and saw a person lying on the ground and someone above that person kicking and punching him, reports said. The witness said he yelled at them to stop fighting, then ran to Buiwitt-Shafer's car, grabbed the keys to prevent her from leaving before police arrived, and went to a nearby party store to call 911, reports said.

Officer Christopher Owens said in his report that when he got to the scene, Buiwitt-Shafer yelled that the witness who was holding her keys had gotten into her car and stolen the keys and her purse. The witness was handcuffed for a short time and placed in a police cruiser after Buiwitt-Shafer accused him of stealing her purse, reports said.

Vicksburg Police Chief Mike Descheneau said that it was his officer's opinion after investigating the case that the witness had not stolen Buiwitt-Shafer's purse and he believes that was a diversion by Buiwitt-Shafer.

Kalamazoo County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Carrie Klein said she could not comment on that issue or any other aspects of the case while it is pending. The victim's cell phone was in Buiwitt-Shafer's vehicle, but it was unclear from reports when or how she was accused of taking it.

Ann Arbor Detective William Stanford, president of the Ann Arbor Police Officers Association, would only say that the union is ensuring that the contractual rights of its officer are protected. "The process is continuing," he said.

Aggravated domestic violence, which requires a serious or aggravated injury less than great bodily harm, is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. The larceny charge is a 93-day misdemeanor.





[MI POLICE OFFICER INVOLVED PERPETRATED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAW ENFORCEMENT MURDER SUICIDE]

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Officer Steve Martinez - Terminated - Muskegon PD

Also See:

Officer Steve Martinez arrested for domestic violence






Cop charged in assault fired from city position
Thursday, November 11, 2004
By Lisa Medendorp
CHRONICLE STAFF WRITER
http://www.mlive.com/news/muchronicle/index.ssf?/base/news-5/1100191519192560.xml

A 32-year-old Muskegon police officer who entered a not guilty plea last week to a domestic violence charge was fired Wednesday.

Steve Martinez, who had nine years on the force, was "terminated" after Director of Public Safety Tony Kleibecker said he reviewed his department's internal affairs report.

Martinez was arraigned Nov. 2 in 60th District Court on the misdemeanor assault charge. He is charged with assaulting his girlfriend on Oct. 30 at the apartment they shared at 750 W. Grand Avenue and had been suspended without pay since the incident.

Kleibecker said earlier that the department's internal investigation of the incident was separate from the criminal case. The internal affairs report was turned over to Kleibecker Nov. 4.

"This type of behavior will not be tolerated," Kleibecker said. "By engaging in this misconduct, he has forfeited the privilege of serving our community as a police officer."

Kleibecker also said Martinez has not had any disciplinary action taken against him during the 41/2 years Kleibecker has headed the police department.

Officer Michael Addicott, local president of the Police Officers Labor Council, said a grievance will be filed by the union on Martinez's termination within the next 12 days. "We will file the grievance with the understanding that any possible arbitration has to be after the criminal matter is resolved," he said.

Kleibecker said there was no need to wait for the court case to conclude before taking action agaist Martinez because of the information that was uncovered during the internal investigation. He declined to discuss specifics of what the internal investigation found.

"For the internal review, I have to take into consideration the facts that we've put together through our investigation, look at the totality of the circumstances and make a decision based upon that," Kleibecker said. "For me, there's not a legal requirement of a certain level of proof necessary."

Addicott said Martinez denies the allegations and wants to continue to be a Muskegon police officer. "In the grievance, the request will be for his return to the position of police officer, that he receive any money lost and all benefits, and that the matter be expunged from his personnel file."

Martinez was fired following a hearing Wednesday morning, during which his attorney, David Shafer, was present. Shafer said he was aware of alleged reasons for Martinez's termination, and that he found it "embarrassing that the chief law enforcement officer for the city of Muskegon sits as the judge, jury and executioner on a case that's never been decided in a court of law."

Shafer, who has represented other Muskegon officers who were disciplined by the department, added: "It's no secret that morale is at an all-time low among the road patrol officers."

The attorney said the current administration at the department was "either on a house-cleaning mission or has very little concern for the rights of officers."

Shafer said one of the main reasons for Martinez's termination was because department officials believed he was dishonest in answering questions as to whether somebody leaked information to him from a department report prior to his statement to internal affairs.

"This is not true," Shafer said. "I've been involved in a number of cases both representing police officers and pursuing officers for misconduct. In this particular case, the (internal) investigation and termination occurred much more swiftly than in any of those cases," Shafer said.

Martinez remains free on $300 bond.





Friday, November 5, 2004

Deputy Phillip Muma - Wexford SD







In her December 2004 protective order request, Cathleen Muma claimed that her husband / Deputy Phillip Muma of the Wexford Sheriff Department, had threatened her with a loaded rifle [November 05, 2004].











She says deputy has been abusive
By IAN C. STOREY
Record-Eagle staff writer
December 11, 2004
http://www.record-eagle.com/2004/dec/11manton.htm

MANTON - A Manton woman sought personal protection orders against her sheriff's deputy husband and Manton's chief of police.

Cathleen Muma, 35, filed protection requests late Wednesday against her husband, Phillip, a deputy with the Wexford County Sheriff's office, and Manton Police Chief Michael Long, a friend of the family.

Grand Traverse County Probate Judge David L. Stowe denied the ex-parte request against Long, but granted an order against Phillip Muma, according to 13th Circuit Court records.

In the protection request against her husband, Cathleen Muma said he had been abusive in the past but became more aggressive after he had brain surgery in August.

In her statement to the court, Muma said on Nov. 5 her husband threatened her with a loaded rifle at the couple's home after she returned from a work trip to Haiti.

The next day, she said she fled to a safe house.

The alleged domestic problems led to a precautionary lockdown of Manton High School on Monday, after Muma removed herchildren and told school officials her husband had made threats.

In her protection request against Long, Muma alleged the chief told her she had to better start putting "God and family first" in her life and told her she needed to be a "better wife" to her husband. Muma said in the request she was "intimidated" by the police chief giving her orders to run her life.

Muma said Long used his position to "gain control" over her work relationships and "threatened" to take her children.

But Long said he never threatened Muma and called her place of employment to find out information about the school situation.

"The whole thing is sad, but it really didn't have to be that way," he said. "What she says about me is totally untrue. I am bewildered, to be honest with you. "I knew both of them as friends until recently. I think that everybody knows Phil is not like that."

Long said he was with Phillip Muma when the lockdown at the school occurred and said he didn't believe Muma posed a danger to anyone."

Two sides of the story is what we are all looking for in the first place, and some things that were said were not true," he said. "I think people are starting to learn the truth ofwhat really happened."


[MI POLICE OFFICER INVOLVED PERPETRATED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAW ENFORCEMENT MURDER SUICIDE]

Monday, November 1, 2004

Officer Steve Martinez - Suspended - Muskegon PD

Also See:

Officer Steve Martinez arrested for domestic violence





Officer pleads not guilty to domestic violence
Thursday, November 04, 2004
By Lisa Medendorp
CHRONICLE STAFF WRITER
http://www.mlive.com/news/muchronicle/index.ssf?/base/news-5/1099586799290400.xml

A Muskegon police officer who was arrested for domestic violence last weekend appeared for 60th District Court arraignment Tuesday.

Steve Martinez, 32, was suspended without pay following his arrest Saturday and posted a $300 surety bond after being taken to the Ottawa County Jail.

Martinez was given an arraignment date of Nov. 15 on the misdemeanor charge, but attorney David Shafer had his client appear Tuesday before visiting Judge Richard J. Pasarela. The officer entered a not guilty plea.

Martinez, who works an overnight shift, is accused of assaulting his girlfriend -- hitting her with his fists and kicking her -- after returning home from socializing at the Marine Tap Room, according to a Michigan State Police report.

Shafer, after noting that "in our great country, everyone is innocent until proven guilty," added: "We believe that after a reasonable trier of fact hears all the evidence, Mr. Martinez will be acquitted."

Although the 22-year-old woman contacted Muskegon police after the alleged assault, the investigation was turned over to state police to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest.

The state police report said the woman had obvious injuries, including an abrasion to the right side of her face, a swollen lip and a swollen eye. The same report also said Martinez had a chin laceration and abrasions on the underside of his right forearm.

Tony Kleibecker, Muskegon's director of public safety, said he hopes to have the department's internal investigation completed by the end of the week, and a decision about the officer's status could be made next week. Shafer said Martinez has a nine-year history with the Muskegon Police Department.

"He's well thought of by fellow officers, he's committed to serving the public, and he sincerely hopes that after the criminal case is behind him, he will be able to continue to serve the public."

The assault allegedly occurred early Saturday afternoon at the apartment Martinez shared with his girlfriend at 750 W. Grand. The state police report said the two had been dating since late July, but that he had just moved in with her the day before the incident.

The state police report said Martinez called his girlfriend from the Marine Tap Room, 1983 Lakeshore, wanting her to join him. She told the state police trooper who interviewed her that he wanted her to drive him home. She went into the bar and was introduced to a relative of the officer's as well as Muskegon Mayor Steve Warmington, who owns the bar. She allegedly left the bar because of Martinez's behavior toward her, and they wound up driving home separately.

Kleibecker said earlier that the two argued and the argument became physical. She alleged in the state police report that he punched her in the face and kicked her, pulling out her false hair braids as well.

The state police report said she was able to get away from him and ran out of the house to get help.

Another tenant in the apartment building told police about hearing a commotion in the apartment shared by Martinez and the woman. Martinez chose not to make a statement to investigating officers. He remains free on bond.

A condition of the bond that he have no contact with the victim was dropped at her request, court records show.

During an interview with state police, the woman said she had been"scared," and "thought she was going to die." But she also said she did not want Martinez to lose his job according to the report.

A pretrial hearing was set for Nov. 16 before Magistrate John Wiewiora. Conviction on an assault and battery/domestic violence charge carries a possible sentence of 93 days in the county jail.