clubhouse, east hampton, indoor, tennis, cornhole, bar, happy hour, bowling, mini golf

Story - News

May 30, 2012 10:29 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

More Than 100 Arrests Being Reviewed By D.A. After Two Are Released

May 30, 2012 11:53 AM

The Town Police also are investigating cases conducted by the unit over the past two years involving a particular officer—presumably Officer Sickles, though that has not been made clear—in an effort to make sure defendants received fair treatment.

Chief Wilson, who transferred to the Town Police in May 2011, began phasing out the Street Crime Unit last summer and completely disbanded it by November 2011. He said last week that he had launched an internal investigation into the unit after information developed about six months ago that caused him “great concern in reference to the operations of the Street Crime Unit,” calling the matter a “public safety concern.” This week, he said he could not comment.

Just this past January 20, Officer Sickles won the highest accolade, the Howard Stock Memorial Award, at the Kiwanis Club of Southampton Town’s 42nd annual police awards banquet, a prize that goes once a year to the club’s pick of the officer who demonstrated the most exemplary police work out of officers from 13 agencies. A co-officer of the year for 2011 in his department, he was honored for his work as an undercover officer with the Street Crimes Unit.

At the time, Town Police, in nominating Officer Sickles—it actually was Lt. Kiernan who decided to nominate him—lauded him for buying heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and prescription drugs more than 50 times from 11 different suspected drug dealers, and his handling of confidential informants that led to at least seven search warrants netting significant amounts of narcotics and thousands of dollars of drug money. Officer Sickles was absent from the awards ceremony.

Susan Menu, a defense attorney who was present in Suffolk County Criminal Court last week for both Mr. Proctor’s and Mr. Cooks’s dismissals, and who represented Mr. Cooks throughout his case, praised the quick work by the D.A.’s office to right an injustice. She declined to discuss the specifics of what resulted in the overturning of her client’s case. Mr. Cooks was arrested in January 2011 and was sentenced to 2½ to 4½ years in prison.

Mr. Cooks was arrested by the Street Crime Unit following a pre-dawn raid at a North Sea home that netted about 10 grams of crack cocaine, a small quantity of marijuana, and a handful of Xanax, hydrocodone and oxycodone pills, along with drug scales and packaging material, police had said at the time. The Noyac Road property had been under investigation for several months as a suspected site of crack cocaine sales, police had said. It was not Mr. Cooks’s first arrest: In 2005, Town Police said he was one of three men who violently robbed a North Sea family while brandishing machetes and replica handguns.

“They’re thrilled to have their liberty restored,” Ms. Menu said, noting that she was present in court for the two men’s dismissals. “It’s a very, very big thing. They’re also grateful to the district attorney’s office, because they moved so quickly to correct an obvious injustice.”

Mr. Proctor’s attorney, Laura Solinger, said on Friday night that Mr. Proctor had lost custody of his two children upon his sentencing two years ago, and one of the first things he asked her about after hearing the news of his release was how he could get his children back, and how he was thrilled to be able to return home to an elderly father who was ill, she said.

Ms. Solinger said she was not aware of the specific reasons for the dismissal of her client’s case, but spoke of the rarity of having convictions tossed. “It’s an unusual move on the part of the D.A.’s office to do something like this, so it’s surprising,” she said. “I’ve been a defense attorney for 20 years, and I’ve never gotten a call from an [assistant district attorney] saying, ‘We’ve got a dirty cop and we’re dismissing all your cases.’ This was surprising and welcome, certainly, for my client.”

Reaction to the cases being overturned this week was supportive of the D.A.’s action.

Chief Wilson on Friday said, “It’s disturbing, and I will cooperate fully and totally with any D.A. inquiry or investigation.”

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association Vice President Kevin Gwinn, a spokesman for the union of which Officer Sickles is a member, said, “We are mindful of the district attorney’s office investigation concerning the investigation into the Street Crime Unit and will act appropriately on the behalf of our members should any be affected. Our actions will be dictated by the results of the investigation as it unfolds. We stand by our membership.”

<<  1  |  2  |  3  >>  

You've read 1 of 7 free articles this month.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

Just because the PO had substance abuse issues does not mean that these people were wrongly convicted. Unfortunately, we will have to wait until they recommit a crime and hope that no violent crimes occur against the citizens. Sounds to me that the DA should set a higher bar here than the cop was addicted. OK, but prove to us that the rest of the evidence is tainted. If so, fine. The officer had problems and his supervisor mishandled the situation and that has to be remedied by the police department. ...more
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on May 25, 12 6:55 PM
Jury's decisions were based on skewed facts presented by DA.
Case was dismissed; therefore, no retry and this is very bad.

By ron sport (14), southampton on May 26, 12 11:13 AM
2 members liked this comment
Retrying the same case would be an exercise in double jeopardy. The case has already been heard and a sentencing handed down. If you want both of these men in prison again, they will have to commit another unlawful act and obviously get caught.

Now, since the charging PO has/had substance abuse issues it can be easily argued that the charging officer was unfit for duty. If the charging officer is not of the right mind, the facts presented during the trial by said PO may be corrupted, wrong, ...more
By MegaThorpe (2), Fredonia on Jun 6, 12 7:07 AM
Should we feel safer with the results of this preliminary review/comments??
It appears that we are totally focused on not holding reported drug dealers
and we allow people to openly break our rule of law!!!
By East Ender (64), Southampton on May 25, 12 6:56 PM
1 member liked this comment
Actually the rule of law has not been broken. In fact the DA pretty much affirms that the rule of law is still around and kicking.

The way our justice system works is that to get tried by the state (the government by another word) you have to have sufficient evidence in order to prove the charges. The reasoning for this is that you don't want government officials (in this case Police Officers) fabricating charges just so that they can detain someone they don't like. This is not a perfect ...more
By MegaThorpe (2), Fredonia on Jun 6, 12 7:16 AM
It depends what they know about this PO. How badly was his credibility affected? If the convictions are based entirely on his testimony and the DA has information that the PO is not believable, for whatever reason, it may be the right decision. We don't know all the facts. This is a pretty extraordinary action, however.
By HB90 (164), southampton on May 25, 12 9:11 PM
2 members liked this comment
I completely agree, extraordinary action.
Correct, I don't have all facts but the defendants will likely have an affirmative defense of ENTRAPMENT.
By ron sport (14), southampton on May 26, 12 11:18 AM
My favorite part is they are not taking this lightly. Two drug dealer slash home invaders released back into the general population of this county is pretty stupid. If I remember right these two guys admitted to their crimes. Whoever is lucky enough to be these guys next victims make sure you sue the D A's office for playing "law and order" IN THE REAL WORLD. Good work
By chief1 (2800), southampton on May 25, 12 9:13 PM
2 members liked this comment
The law suits against the town are going to be interesting.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on May 25, 12 9:36 PM
1 member liked this comment
Just in time for a big weekend.
By workingmomof4 (21), Southampton on May 26, 12 12:09 AM
You heard this was coming....
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on May 26, 12 2:30 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on May 26, 12 7:10 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By azkaban77, Hampton Bays on May 26, 12 8:50 AM
How did the P.O.'s drug use get to point of serious addiction? Don't they piss test these guys?
By fish head (9), Southampton on May 26, 12 10:38 AM
1 member liked this comment
That's one of the hazards of that particular job -- and the lack of supervision of the officer's performance is probably one of the key elements of this latest issue.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on May 26, 12 2:59 PM
And union protection
By double-D (96), southampton on May 28, 12 5:22 PM
They test either once a year, OR when an incident happens that waarants it. More testing if they work for Home Depot.
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on May 30, 12 3:41 PM
Dont assume frank
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on May 26, 12 4:26 PM
Hey!, all I know is what I read here, GB.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on May 27, 12 2:25 AM
Maybe you should broaden your horizons.
By jams (129), hampton bays on May 27, 12 7:48 AM
Defense attorneys will be scouring their files for cases with Kiernan's name on them. Another black eye for the DA's Office.
By lucy2 (63), Southampton, NY on May 27, 12 8:15 AM
Why a blackeye for the DA's office? The DA is the one cleaning up this mess.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on May 27, 12 9:16 AM
1 member liked this comment
Uses his kid for a lookout and now wants child custody restored. Father of the year.How many people wound up with a serious drug addiction because of these guys.Next time these guys get busted they'll claim they were targeted unfairly.And someone will plead their case.This makes me sick
By TianaBob (256), S.Jamesport on May 27, 12 2:54 PM
1 member liked this comment
Tiana Bob you don not know that for sure. That was an accusation by a "dirty" cop. I remember village cops accusing a kid of riding his bike on Main Street because the kid was actually walking the bike. The cops answer "Well he looked like he was about to get on a ride away". And Do Not blame serious drug addiction on the seller alone. YOU know drugs including alcohol are addictive. YOU know when You need to leave that stuff alone.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on May 27, 12 3:23 PM
oh great, another uber-liberal jackass who pities the poor drug dealers. I hope the first house they come into when they open the cage is yours
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on May 27, 12 9:17 PM
its the only way idiots learn the truth. like when you liberals are against the death penalty until someone close to you is the murder victim. then its "off with his head!!" stay at home phil, you can be number 2
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on May 29, 12 7:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
I've reread the article and the posts. Seems to me y'all jump to conclusions easily. The Proctors I used to know and attend school with were very nice law abiding folks. and before you say it of course we all know all families have a black sheep in the pack.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on May 27, 12 3:32 PM
Seriously summertime? They found enough drugs in the guys house to get the whole town high. How is that jumping to conclusions? Make no mistake, the guy is a criminal no matter how you slice it. It just sucks that this officers foolishness is causing criminals to be released.
By bubby (236), southampton on May 27, 12 8:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
Without more facts being released, this seems like a premature and bad decision.
By disinterested observer (4), Southampton on May 28, 12 9:06 AM
They did not release all the facts to the public. I doubt they woulld move to vacate without a good deal of investigation and consideration. WE don't know all the facts but I think the DA's office does.
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on May 29, 12 4:26 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on May 28, 12 8:40 PM
I wonder if these two people will take this opportunity and get their acts together. I do know people who have done there time, come out with a record and managed to start over and live productive non crimminal lives. They are coming out with a clean slate (for the most part) I hope they realize that.
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on May 29, 12 4:29 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on May 29, 12 6:26 PM
They are not coming out with clean slates.One has a conviction for a home invasion using a machete.The other with assault over a drug deal gone bad.The best for all is if these guys move far away.They will have money once they sue Southampton Town and we pay for it.
By TianaBob (256), S.Jamesport on May 30, 12 11:32 AM
I did say (for the most part)
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Jun 1, 12 1:50 PM
Seems to me that the TAXPAYERS are funding a very corrupt police department that is autonomous and buries things within, protect and serve themselves without reprimand until a squeaky wheel comes along and still the public is left in the dark and put into a precarious position with the release hardened crimminals and still the taxpayers are responsible to foot the bill for the OUTRAGEOUS SALARIES these crimminals we call PUBLIC SERVANTS earn!!!! Disgusting!!!!!!
By lursagirl (245), southampton on May 30, 12 1:20 PM
The only way that the DA would throw out all those convictions is if their was a possibility that the PO manufactured evidence against the alleged criminals.
By Walt (292), Southampton on May 30, 12 1:33 PM
Give me a break. They pulled a bag of cocaine out of the guy's rectum. Nice guy.
By concerned citizen (41), Hampton Bays on May 30, 12 1:42 PM
And they lied about it...on the police report...not good. Might be one of the reasons he got to walk.
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Jun 1, 12 1:36 PM
1 member liked this comment
The county should take over the police dept ASAP.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on May 30, 12 1:44 PM
1 member liked this comment
Seems to me that perhaps we should keep the Police Chief and "oust " the town board!
By blbandit (21), Southampton on May 30, 12 2:07 PM
2 members liked this comment
So, exactly how are you related to Wilson?????
By concerned citizen (41), Hampton Bays on May 30, 12 6:14 PM
Concerned Citizen,
Are you off to Town Hall this morning to purchase Herman Lamison's house that is up for forclosure sale on the steps of Town Hall with your "9/11 disability retirement" money? Be careful they are looking into your dirty dealings next!
By sunnydays (43), Hampton Bays on May 31, 12 9:19 AM
The town board has this under control-they are meeting on June 12th to discuss this matter. Good job Anne
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on May 30, 12 5:30 PM
Bill keep up the great work. Keep our streets safe. Change is good to clean house and make things right moving forward.
By MR.? (8), southampton on May 30, 12 7:21 PM
By bchgrl83 (52), Westhampton Beach on May 30, 12 8:08 PM
At first I was opposed to bring in an outsider as chief. I thought promoting from within was the way to go.Now it seems it was time for a change.It is a shame this reflects on the whole dept.
By shep (2), east quogue on May 31, 12 5:43 AM
Sad! It takes a few bad eggs to tarnish the entire departments reputation. Thank you Chief Wilson for cleaning house. Its about time someone did it.
By lifesaver (118), speonk on May 31, 12 8:15 AM
All I have ever heard about Chief Wilson is good. One of the "pulled up by his own boot straps" kind of person. Clean and decent.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jun 1, 12 2:45 PM
Anyone wishing to hear an educated and experienced Dr. speak about drugs and addiction go to YouTube and search Dr. Gabor Mate.
He is the author of the book "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts"
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Jun 3, 12 12:30 PM
and now a 50 Mill lawsuit over a drug dealer who used his son as a lookout and was found with drugs in a place I would never mention. what is this liberal worl coming too?
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Jun 3, 12 6:02 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Jun 3, 12 6:02 PM