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SF Bay area cop suspended after theft of gun by Reno prostitute

Feb 9, 2015

San Francisco Chronicle

More of the old "Do as I say, not as I do" from our religious leaders, government masters and police???

"[Kensington Police Sergeant Keith] Barrow, while apparently asleep in a Reno hotel room, had his badge, handcuffs and .40-caliber service pistol stolen by a prostitute who had been paid $70 for sex"

Personally I think prostitution should be legal. But as long as it's illegal, I don't think it's too much to expect the police to obey the laws.

It wasn't the cops fault!!! Honest. He was drugged after he paid the prostitute to have sex with him. Well at least that's the line of BS the cops want us to believe.

Kensington cop suspended after theft of gun by Reno prostitute

By Henry Lee

Updated 6:59 pm, Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Kensington police sergeant has been suspended after his gun was stolen last year, reportedly by an alleged prostitute in a Reno hotel room, his attorney said Sunday.

Sgt. Keith Barrow, 47, has also had “other substantial sanctions imposed upon him by the department,” said his attorney Justin Buffington., who did not elaborate. “He is paying the price commensurate with the facts of the case, based upon a thorough personnel investigation.”

The probe began on May 23, 2014, when an off-duty Barrow, while apparently asleep in a Reno hotel room, had his badge, handcuffs and .40-caliber service pistol stolen by a prostitute who had been paid $70 for sex, according to a Bay Area News Group report.

Barrow wasn’t cited, and his gun ended up in the hands of the prostitute’s pimp, a drug user who accidentally shot himself in the leg with the weapon during an argument the next morning at a local pawnshop, the report said.

Buffington said his investigation “has led me to conclude that the suspect drugged Sgt. Barrow’s drink in order to take advantage of and victimize him. The suspect in this case is not a savory character and has a lengthy criminal history.”

After the incident in Reno, Kensington Police Chief Greg Harman opened up an internal investigation of Barrow.

Barrow remained on duty and frequently attended monthly meetings of the Kensington Police Protection and Community Services District to provide updates about police investigations, city records show. Harman doubles as the district’s general manager on top of serving as police chief in Kensington, a wealthy enclave of 5,000 people where violence is rare.

For months, records showed that Harman was investigating an allegation “that an officer engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer while off-duty.” But the agenda for the upcoming Thursday meeting included an additional note: “This investigation has been sustained by Chief Harman and disciplinary action implemented.”

Barrow is head of the Kensington police union. In 2012, Barrow wrote a letter supporting Harman’s contract renewal.

“Based on many years of working with Chief Gregory Harman, we feel his level of competency and commitment to this department, community and profession, coupled with his extraordinary professionalism and knowledge of the law enforcement profession makes him an outstanding candidate for remaining in the position of chief of police,” according to a letter published in the Kensington Outlook.

Michael Rains, an attorney who has represented Harman in previous matters, said the chief is a “bright and ethical man.” Rains added, “I am confident this matter will be handled appropriately and in accord with existing legal precedents in this type of case.”

Henry K. Lee is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: Twitter: @henryklee

More on that SF Bay area cop Sgt. Keith T. Barrow who had his gun stolen by a hooker in Reno

More of the old "Do as I say, not as I do" from our religious leaders, government masters and police???

Personally I think prostitution should be legal. But it ticks we off when police hypocrites break the same laws they enforce against us with an iron fist.


East Bay cop whose gun was stolen by a prostitute still working

By Thomas Peele

Posted: 02/08/2015 03:26:56 PM PST

Kensington police Sgt. Keith T. Barrow lost more than his moral compass last year during an encounter with a prostitute in a Reno hotel room.

When he fell asleep and woke up a short time later, according to court records and interviews, the hooker -- and Barrow's badge, handcuffs, .40-caliber service pistol and two clips of ammunition -- were all gone.

The one thing the 47-year-old detective hasn't lost is his job.

Barrow was never even placed on administrative leave when his East Bay police department learned what happened in the "Biggest Little City in the World" and investigated it. Law enforcement experts consulted by this newspaper found that deeply troubling, and some residents of the quaint, affluent hillside town called it outrageous.

But late Friday, nearly nine months after his bad night in Reno, and after this newspaper started asking questions of Barrow and Kensington officials, his attorney said a disciplinary decision has been made. Barrow will be suspended, attorney Justin Buffington told the newspaper, but he would not say for how long or when it would begin.

It's already too late, police experts say. By losing his weapon, they say, Barrow put the public at risk -- and the town of Kensington under huge liability. Reno police got the gun back, but only after the prostitute's pimp shot himself in the leg with it while, as a Nevada judge described it, "trying to be a tough guy."

"It's drilled in your head from Day One," said Tom Nolan, a retired Boston police lieutenant turned academic. "Losing your weapon is the most egregious error a (police officer) can make."

Barrow did not return multiple messages for comment.

Prostitution in Nevada is only legal in licensed brothels. A police report taken the night the gun was stolen states that $70 was exchanged for sex, said Reno police spokesman Tim Broadway. Barrow was not cited. In interviews with this newspaper, Broadway and the Washoe County, Nevada, district attorney at the time would not explain the decision.

Broadway told the newspaper details of the incident but did not identify Barrow. Court records list Barrow as the crime victim, along with the Kensington Police Department's address.

Despite a scalding feud between a group of residents and the town's elected governing board over the Police Department, word about Barrow's misfortunes seems not to have spread through Kensington, an enclave of about 5,000 residents nestled in the hills north of Berkeley, where half the residents have advanced degrees and the median income is $133,000.

But police have known for months. Police Chief Greg Harman has repeatedly listed in his monthly public reports a pending internal investigation of unbecoming conduct stemming from an incident involving an off-duty officer on May 23, 2014. That's the date Barrow's gun was stolen. The last reference to the open investigation was Jan. 8.

Kensington Police Protection and Community Services District President Len Walsh said he and Harman would not discuss the matter, citing police personnel laws.

Barrow remains head of the Kensington police union, negotiating for raises with Welsh and others. Barrow was the department's second-highest compensated officer in 2014, public data show, at $186,000 in cash and benefits.

Barrow should have been immediately suspended and aggressively investigated when Kensington officials first learned about the stolen gun, said Sam Walker, a criminology professor at the University Nebraska, Lincoln.

"This should have cost him his job already. It was dereliction of duty," Walker said. "He showed a complete lack of professionalism in allowing his weapon and other equipment to be stolen."

While what happened in Reno may seem shocking, a group of Town Hall watchdogs say it's only the latest violation of trust from Kensington officials and their police.

A group of residents sued the town two years ago, claiming the board rammed through a new contract for Harman in violation of its own rules. When a state appellate court eventually ruled against the residents, the town filed legal papers to recoup $158,000 in legal costs from them. First Amendment lawyer Karl Olson, just hired by the residents to fight the fee issue, said the local politics seem like something out of "Vladimir Putin's Russia" with the government punishing his clients for questioning the Police Department's administration.

The Barrow saga only adds to the ongoing tumult, residents said. "It's egregious and shocking but not really surprising," said David Bergen, who has questioned the department's competency in emails to public officials.

Cathie Kosel, a former Kensington board member and El Cerrito mayor, said she wasn't surprised in the least that Barrow didn't face swift discipline. She called the Police Department "a boys' club. They protect each other."

The theft of the gun occurred in a hotel along a seedy stretch of Reno's main drag, Virginia Street, where prostitution is rampant. "There are girls on the street. There are girls in the casinos," said Broadway, the Reno police spokesman.

Buffington said an investigation done by his law firm raised the "possibility" that Barrow had been drugged. He declined to provide specifics.

Within 45 minutes, police arrested Christina Mae Taylor, then 25, who lived in a nearby ramshackle motel, and charged her with grand larceny.

When police found her, Barrow's gun was gone. She later admitted passing it off to a man she called her "dude," Tashanta Grant, 36, described in court records as a methamphetamine user with a felony record, who'd disappeared into the night.

Grant surfaced the next morning at a downtown pawnshop, where he got into an altercation with two people. He was carrying Barrow's gun, its serial number scratched off. But when he tried to draw it, he shot himself in the leg and police arrested him.

Taylor pleaded guilty to reduced charges on Sept. 11. She told Judge Elliot Sattler that Barrow "was a john. He was a cop. He was off duty." She said she "just freaked out and when I found" the gun and gave it "to my dude who actually shot himself. I told the cops where I got it and where the badge and the rest of the stuff was," according to a transcript of her plea hearing

Taylor was placed on probation, but she failed to check in with her officer. As of last week, a warrant was active for her arrest. Grant missed a court date, and a warrant was also active for him.

Back in California, Barrow quickly returned to work on Kensington's tree-lined streets.

"There are often problems with these tiny little departments," said Walker, where "high rates of unprofessionalism," especially in matters of internal investigations and discipline, are common. In situations like Kensington's, he said, "you have to ask if the Police Department is essentially lawless."

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