Police officer in Texas suspended over graphic MySpace page

Saturday, October 14, 2006

WICHITA FALLS, Texas -- A police officer whose Web page on MySpace.com included images of dismembered women has been indefinitely suspended, authorities said.

Jeremiah Love's page on the social-networking site contained images and statements that could undermine public confidence in the police department, an internal affairs report said. Love, 26, was suspended Tuesday.

Julia Vasquez, an assistant city attorney, said Love espoused a fondness for violence on the Web page that would hurt his testimony in criminal cases.

"These are comments that would make it difficult if he was trying to defend himself against a complaint regarding excessive force as an officer," Vasquez said. "There may be no evidence of excessive force, but when someone looks at his site, the comments could be used against him in court."

She said Love had not faced disciplinary action in the past.

Love's attorney, Richard Carter, of the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas, said the officer would appeal the suspension on the grounds that the punishment is excessive. Carter said the appeal would be heard by an arbitrator.

The Web page, which has been removed from MySpace.com, was listed under the name Leatherface. Graphic images on the page included a woman with the word "loath" carved into her flesh. Love listed his occupation as "super hero/serial killer."

According to the internal affairs report, Love designed his site in the genre of horror movies. He told investigators the site was meant to be humorous, according to the report.

Bruce Martin, a defense lawyer, said he discovered Love's MySpace page shortly after Love arrested one of his clients last month. Martin, who said he alerted prosecutors to the Web site, said he has evidence Love used excessive force on his client.

"I think all of the arrests, all of the searches and all of the seizures he's made have come into question," Martin said. "In any case of abuse or alleged abuse perpetrated by Officer Love, this Web site can be used to test his credibility."

Police Chief Dennis Bachman wouldn't comment on Love's case but said the public "always tends to hold their officers and firemen to a higher standard whether right or wrong."

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