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Monday, October 27, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Can Police Officers Be Trusted with Seized Cellphones?

     A California Highway Patrol Officer suspected of stealing nude photos from the cellphones of women arrested on drunken driving charges sent the pictures to at least two fellow officers…Officer Sean Harrington, 35, confessed to investigators that he sent such photos at least six times over several years to colleagues…

     Harrington has worked for the CHP for five years…He is assigned to administrative duties pending the investigation. Contra County prosecutors say they expect to announce if they will file criminal charges in the coming days. Officers Robert Hazelwood and Dion Simmons are named in the October 24, 2014 search warrant affidavit, suspected of receiving the photographs and exchanging banter with Harrington…

     CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said in a statement that his agency has launched an investigation, citing a similar case several years ago involving two officers in Los Angeles…The investigation was sparked by a 23-year-old San Ramon woman arrested August 29, 2014 on suspicion of drunken driving…She later discovered nude photographs of herself had been sent from her cellphone to an unfamiliar number. Drunken driving charges against the woman have been dismissed in light of the investigation of officer Harrington…

     Harrington also sent officer Hazelwood photos of a 19-year-old woman arrested following a suspected drunken driving crash in Livermore, California on August 7, 2014. The photos show her wearing a bikini. Hazelwood responded in a text asking if there were any nude photos…

     Darryl Holcombe, a senior investigator with the Contra County District Attorney's Office said Harrington's behavior amounts to felony computer theft. Attorney Rick Madsen, who represents the 23-year-old woman, said the officers' communications were "dehumanizing" and "horribly offensive" to his client, saying, "It's going to lead to another level of mistrust and skepticism of law enforcement in general."

"California Traffic Cop Accused of Sending Nude Photos From Female Drunk Drivers' Cellphones," The Daily Mail, October 25, 2014


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