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Blyden To Stay Behind Bars Through Trial

June 2, 2009 — Citing his concern for the safety of the local community, U.S. Magistrate Judge Geoffrey Barnard has ordered that Jerome Blyden — a V.I. police officer recently arrested on charges ranging from racketeering to attempted murder — remain in jail until his criminal trial is over.
Blyden's arrest came on the heels of a more than 20-month federal investigation that put him at the center of a crime ring that, among other things, allegedly trafficked cocaine and ran an illegal dog-fighting business from about 1999 until October 2005. Blyden and Gelean Mark — the alleged leader of the crime ring dubbed the Mark-Blyden Enterprise — were indicted a few weeks ago by a federal grand jury. (See "Officer Blyden Arrested, Faces Five Charges.")
The government, both through the indictment and arguments aired during a detention hearing last month, presented what it called "clear and convincing evidence" that Blyden attempted to threaten and intimidate two federal agents that were investigating his alleged criminal activities, was present at the alleged attempted murder of Nicholas Friday Jr. and allegedly intimidated a witness to the attempted murder, Barnard wrote in a recent opinion.
The indictment alleges that Mark and Blyden attempted to kill Friday after he "threatened the enterprise's affairs."
"Based on the evidence before the court, the court finds that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the safety of the community," Barnard said in his order. He ordered that Blyden be held, without prejudice, in the custody of the U.S. Attorney General and kept at a corrections facility away from other individuals awaiting or serving sentences or are being held pending appeal. Corrections' warden will deliver Blyden to the U.S. Marshals Service for court appearances, Barnard ruled.
During last month's detention hearing, Blyden's mother Margaret Rawlings and union supervisor Lt. Joseph Gumbs defended Blyden, saying that the was not violent nor a threat to the community. Gumbs said he was aware of excessive force allegations against Blyden, but testified that none of the charges had been confirmed. He said he was unaware, however, of decades-old allegations of assault, conduct unbecoming a police officer or acts of intimidation attributed to Blyden.
However, former V.I. Police Department Director of Internal Affairs Ray Martinez testified during the hearing that the department had twice attempted to perform psychological evaluations on Blyden, and both times, Blyden tried to intimidate the psychiatrists.
"Mr. Martinez testified that one psychological evaluation was initially commended by Dr. Derek Spencer; however, the psychological evaluation was never completed because Dr. Spencer was troubled by the defendant's erratic behavior and refused to continue to see the defendant," Barnard wrote in his recent order.
In summarizing Martinez's testimony, Barnard noted that a slew of complaints were filed against Blyden between 1997 and 2004, including:
– four complaints of assault/battery, all subsequently dismissed for insufficient evidence;
– two harassment complaints (one did not have a disposition and the other was referred to Command Zone C);
– three complaints of threats and intimidation (two were closed because of insufficient evidence and the third was closed because the witness was not cooperative);
– one complaint of brandishing a weapon at a Superior Court marshal (that complaint is still pending);
14 complaints of conduct unbecoming a police officer (Blyden was disciplined on three of the complaints, while the remaining 11 were either dismissed or their dispositions are unknown); and
– one complaint from a woman who said Blyden stole $600 from her (the disposition of the complaint is unknown).
After his arrest last month, Blyden was suspended from the department without pay. He will be arraigned at 10 a.m. Wednesday in District Court.
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June 2, 2009 -- Citing his concern for the safety of the local community, U.S. Magistrate Judge Geoffrey Barnard has ordered that Jerome Blyden -- a V.I. police officer recently arrested on charges ranging from racketeering to attempted murder -- remain in jail until his criminal trial is over.
Blyden's arrest came on the heels of a more than 20-month federal investigation that put him at the center of a crime ring that, among other things, allegedly trafficked cocaine and ran an illegal dog-fighting business from about 1999 until October 2005. Blyden and Gelean Mark -- the alleged leader of the crime ring dubbed the Mark-Blyden Enterprise -- were indicted a few weeks ago by a federal grand jury. (See "Officer Blyden Arrested, Faces Five Charges.")
The government, both through the indictment and arguments aired during a detention hearing last month, presented what it called "clear and convincing evidence" that Blyden attempted to threaten and intimidate two federal agents that were investigating his alleged criminal activities, was present at the alleged attempted murder of Nicholas Friday Jr. and allegedly intimidated a witness to the attempted murder, Barnard wrote in a recent opinion.
The indictment alleges that Mark and Blyden attempted to kill Friday after he "threatened the enterprise's affairs."
"Based on the evidence before the court, the court finds that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the safety of the community," Barnard said in his order. He ordered that Blyden be held, without prejudice, in the custody of the U.S. Attorney General and kept at a corrections facility away from other individuals awaiting or serving sentences or are being held pending appeal. Corrections' warden will deliver Blyden to the U.S. Marshals Service for court appearances, Barnard ruled.
During last month's detention hearing, Blyden's mother Margaret Rawlings and union supervisor Lt. Joseph Gumbs defended Blyden, saying that the was not violent nor a threat to the community. Gumbs said he was aware of excessive force allegations against Blyden, but testified that none of the charges had been confirmed. He said he was unaware, however, of decades-old allegations of assault, conduct unbecoming a police officer or acts of intimidation attributed to Blyden.
However, former V.I. Police Department Director of Internal Affairs Ray Martinez testified during the hearing that the department had twice attempted to perform psychological evaluations on Blyden, and both times, Blyden tried to intimidate the psychiatrists.
"Mr. Martinez testified that one psychological evaluation was initially commended by Dr. Derek Spencer; however, the psychological evaluation was never completed because Dr. Spencer was troubled by the defendant's erratic behavior and refused to continue to see the defendant," Barnard wrote in his recent order.
In summarizing Martinez's testimony, Barnard noted that a slew of complaints were filed against Blyden between 1997 and 2004, including:
- four complaints of assault/battery, all subsequently dismissed for insufficient evidence;
- two harassment complaints (one did not have a disposition and the other was referred to Command Zone C);
- three complaints of threats and intimidation (two were closed because of insufficient evidence and the third was closed because the witness was not cooperative);
- one complaint of brandishing a weapon at a Superior Court marshal (that complaint is still pending);
14 complaints of conduct unbecoming a police officer (Blyden was disciplined on three of the complaints, while the remaining 11 were either dismissed or their dispositions are unknown); and
- one complaint from a woman who said Blyden stole $600 from her (the disposition of the complaint is unknown).
After his arrest last month, Blyden was suspended from the department without pay. He will be arraigned at 10 a.m. Wednesday in District Court.
Back Talk


Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.