Another mixed bag this week, with a crooked 911 dispatcher, another former prosecutor gone downhill, and a group of notorious Oakland police facing justice -- again. Let's get to it:
In Parkersburg, West Virginia, 911 dispatcher Jonathan King, 29, was arrested March 18 on charges he passed along sensitive law enforcement information to a suspected drug trafficker, TV station WTAP reported. He is charged with obstructing an officer during the course of a narcotics investigation. Police would not reveal more about what information King allegedly forwarded to the drug suspect, saying it would interfere with an active drug investigation. But police said King's actions could have placed police in harm's way. Police said that the subject of the investigation was an old school friend of King's and that they had no evidence he had none similar things in the past. He is out of jail on a $2,500 bond pending trial.
In Macon, Missouri, former Macon County District Attorney David Masters was found murdered last week. Three drug users with whom he was associating are charged in his death by cocaine overdose. According to police, the trio, who shared Masters' home, tied him up and injected him with a lethal dose of cocaine because he owed rent money and had made a pass at one of them. According to court documents, when one of the trio pulled a gun on Masters, he said he would rather die from a drug overdose. A hard-nosed prosecutor until he lost re-election in 1998, Masters apparently fell apart after that. His daughter told the Associated Press Masters had separated from his wife, abandoned his law clients, and surrounded himself with drug users, but no one will say out loud that he had himself was using drugs. Citing no direct source, the AP said, "Masters fell in with the wrong crowd, by many accounts sinking into a subculture of drugs and depression."
And in Oakland, California, a pack of predatory Oakland police who styled themselves the Riders are in the news again. The group of four cops, Clarence "Chuck" Mabanag, Jude Siapno, Matthew Hornung, and Frank Vasquez, are on trial on 15 felony counts, from conspiracy to obstruct justice for filing false reports, to assault, kidnapping, and false imprisonment in a reign of terror in West Oakland in 2000. According to prosecution witnesses, the group brutalized suspected drug offenders, planted drugs, and ran roughshod over the law as well as area residents. All four were fired by the Oakland Police Department in 2000 and tried in an eight-month trial in 2003. At that trial, jurors acquitted them on eight charges and remained deadlocked on 27 more. The second trial, which has lasted five months, is now coming to an end. Prosecutors gave their closing arguments this week. While all four Riders are on trial, Vasquez is being tried in absentia. He fled in 2000 and is presumed to be in Mexico.