(01/15/2002)
At least eleven Braxton County citizens have reportedly been "targeted" by the West Virginia State Police in a memo issued to law enforcement agencies by Sgt. John Bonazzo, who was transferred last fall from the Grantsville detachment to Braxton, his former assignment.

Bonazzo said the individuals had been spreading rumors about the West Virginia State Police and other law enforcement officers, including the Gassaway Police Department and the Braxton County Sheriff's Department.

Bonazzo reportedly became angry a few months ago after an internet web site accused a local state policeman of an alleged sexual indiscretion, although sources said other issues were involved.

The memo said "For your information these people do not need to be given a break if you stop them," listing eleven people, two of which were children of a Braxton County magistrate.

Bonazzo reportedly said these individuals "put many of these rumors on the internet."

The Charleston Gazette said Capt. B. D. Gore, Director of the Professional Standards Division, would have Sgt. Bonazzo in his office and then they would be in Supt. Howard Hill's office to discuss the memo. Gore said he started an immediate investigation Friday, saying he takes this type of thing very seriously.

Bonazzo wrote a memo to Calhoun Control-911 advising them the State Police would no longer take after hours calls. A Freedom of Information request filed by The Hur Herald revealed Sgt. Bonazzo had said Sheriff Allen Parsons and his deputies, and the Grantsville Police Department, were unresponsive at night. Calhoun Control 911 records showed otherwise.

Sgt. Bonazzo was advised to rescind his memo. Bonazzo had said the memo regarding police coverage was confidential.

Bonazzo, along with other officers, were recently involved in an after midnight drug raid in Braxton County on the wrong house, according to a local official.

Police sources said Bonazzo brought or threatened to bring suit, against his organization when he was not given rank, although he had been an officer for a "shorter time than others" who were seeking the position. He was then promoted to Sergeant when he was assigned to Calhoun.

A civil suit is being filed in Calhoun against Sgt. Bonazzo, Trooper Doug Starcher and other State Police officers for a drug raid on the Kelley Mace residence, using a search warrant which described a million dollar drug ring.

State Police claimed they found an illegal substance, which turned out to be common garden sulfur. An indictment was brought against the woman and the case continued, without clear evidence, in Calhoun Circuit Court for about one year.

Trooper Doug Starcher continued to testify the "drug" was illegal, but when Mace's attorney Drew Patton pressured police to provide a positive drug result, the case was dropped by Prosecuting Attorney Tony Morgan. Sgt. Bonazzo curiously failed to testify in the case, after more than one subpoena or summons.

Other civil suits and misconduct charges have been filed against State Police in Calhoun and neighboring counties. (SEE earlier Hur Herald stories)

Editor's Note: The text of Sgt. John Bonazzo's memo will be published tomorrow.


Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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