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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Some (Heavy) Monday Morning Reading

The findings of two new reports may be of interest to NPMRP readers.

The first is tangential to police misconduct, but nevertheless big news in the criminal justice world: The 2015 Uniform Crime Report. The findings show an increase in violent crime and murder and a continued decrease in many property crimes. A mixed bag, to be sure, but it is important to remember that we’re still near historic lows in violent crime as other crimes continue to trend downward.  While crime rate increases are reasonable cause for concern, people should not be swayed to believing that everything is going terribly. It’s still very safe for most people in the United States and new policies based on overreaction are the last thing we need.

More directly related to our typical slate of work at NPMRP is a new report on the ATF’s ‘stash-house’ sting program. For those unfamiliar, the ATF would find people and entice them to rob a drug dealer’s stash house with the promise of a big payday. The drug house doesn’t actually exist but the people duped into joining the heist are then prosecuted and give heavy sentences for a crime that never happened. The practice has faced strong public criticism because it preys on the poor and particularly minorities. A new study confirms the findings of an earlier USA Today investigation that showed that racial minorities were targeted to be set up by the ATF at an astonishingly high rate. According to the news report:

The new report, prepared by Columbia Law School professor Jeffrey Fagan, found only a 0.1% chance that agents could have selected so many minorities by chance, even if they were targeting only people with criminal records that suggested they were likely to be part of a robbery crew, as ATF policies require. Those results, Fagan wrote, show that “the ATF is discriminating on the basis of race” in choosing targets for the stings.

The full UCR report can be downloaded here. The Fagan report is here.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 09-22-16

Here are the ten reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, September 22, 2016:

  • Update: Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania (First reported 05-19-15): A now-former officer pled guilty to vehicular homicide for killing a woman during a high-speed chase.
  • Richland County, South Carolina: A deputy interfered with her son’s arrest and was charged with hindering.
  • Update: West Monroe, Louisiana (First reported 01-20-15): An officer was acquitted of negligent homicide in the death of Raymond Martinez, a homeless man.
  • Fulton County, New York: A deputy was arrested for grand larceny for stealing firearms and then selling them.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: An officer was charged with putting marijuana in the mail.
  • Cochise County, Arizona: A deputy was found to have violated the civil rights of a man by removing prescriptions from his home without permission. However, the judge ruled the man had not made a compelling case for damages and was awarded only $1.
  • Pasco County, Florida: A deputy was fired after striking a restrained inmate and charged with battery.
  • Trenton, New Jersey: An officer took his own life after being put under investigation for engaging in a sex act with a sex worker.
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma: An officer was charged with first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher.
  • Memphis, Tennessee: Fiver officers were suspended for using excessive force during an arrest and not reporting that force.

Tulsa Officer Charged with Manslaughter for Killing Terence Crutcher

Late Thursday afternoon, the Tulsa County, Oklahoma district attorney announced that he filed a charge of first-degree manslaughter against Officer Betty Shelby for fatally shooting Terence Crutcher.

The shooting has garnered national attention as it was captured on both dashcam and police helicopter film. Despite the video evidence, the case is hardly open-and-shut win for the prosecution here. The law is generally on the side of the police officers, as I explained earlier this week at Timeline:

Despite repeated public outcry in highly publicized cases like this one, data shows that police officers are in fact very rarely charged or successfully prosecuted for on-duty shootings or other uses of force. According to aWashington Post investigation, between 2005 and 2015, just 54 officers were prosecuted for shootings. Assuming that the almost 1,000 police shooting deaths recorded in 2015 wasn’t a statistical outlier, that’s 54 cases out of nearly 10,000 fatal shootings.


Put simply, a fearful police officer is a very dangerous one. If he can articulate a plausible narrative that he believed he or his life was in danger — often involving the suspect making a “sudden” or “furtive movement,” or “reaching for his waistband” as if for a gun — any lack of actual danger or dangerous weapon is not relevant to the officer’s legal culpability.

The prosecutor apparently feels confident that he can win or, perhaps, that the political consequences of a tried and failed prosecution outweigh not bringing charges at all. As the nation saw in the trials of the officers who killed Freddie Gray in Baltimore, simply bringing charges is no guarantee of a conviction.

We’ll keep an eye on this case, as well as the developing stories in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina.

You can read the whole Timeline piece here.


National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 09-21-16

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, September 21, 2016:

  • Update: Forrest County, Mississippi: The chief deputy was found guilty of filing false tax returns. He was terminated from the department and is scheduled to be sentenced December 19th.
  • Update: Sandusky County, Ohio (First reported 08-23-16): A detective who was suspended while under investigation has resigned.
  • Rio Grande City, Texas: An officer was arrested on drug trafficking charges for tipping-off alleged drug dealers to police activity. He has been fired.
  • Update: Charlotte County, Florida (First reported 07-12-16): A deputy previously suspended for getting in a bar fight has resigned. In an unrelated incident, another deputy was fired for using law enforcement databases and equipment to stalk and harass a woman.
  • Update: Albuquerque, New Mexico (First reported 03-27-14): Two officers are now on trial for the 2014 shooting death of  James Boyd, a homeless man.
  • Houston, Texas: An officer was arrested for DUI and suspended.  The following month, he was arrested again for threatening his wife, including a threat to initiate a workplace shooting.
  • Fullerton, California: An officer pled guilty to charges for embezzling $24,000 in a car loan scheme. He was sentenced to 100 hours of community service and ordered to pay restitution.
  • San Bernardino County, California: A deputy was arrested for a domestic violence incident.
  • Ocala, Florida: The chief was accused of sexual harassment by three female officers. He was placed on leave during the course of a city council investigation.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 09-20-16

Here are the 13 reports of police misconduct tracked for September 20, 2016:

  • Update: Oakland and Livermore, California (First reported 05-13-16): One now-former officer from each department were arrested in connection with the ongoing underage sex and solicitation scandal involving the sex worker with the pseudonym Celeste Guap.
  • Lawrence, Kansas: A now-former officer was charged with battery leg-sweeping and then repeatedly punching a man who was nonviolently uncooperative during an arrest.
  • Prattville, Alabama: An officer resigned after his DUI arrest.
  • Elko-New Market, Minnesota: An officer was arrested for DUI while off duty.
  • Honolulu, Hawaii: An officer was indicted on federal wire fraud
  • Tustin, California: An officer was denied qualified immunity by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the fatal shooting of Benny Herrera. The court found that the officer “could not have reasonably feared for his life” before he shot Herrera.
  • Gretna, Louisiana: An officer arrested was and fired for kicking a handcuffed suspect.
  • Connecticut State Police: The CSP is being sued by ACLU of Connecticut after officers inadvertently recorded themselves concocting bogus charges against a protester.
  • St. Petersburg, Florida: An officer was arrested for domestic battery against his girlfriend and placed on leave.
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin: An officer was arrested for DUI after rear-ending a squad car when she was off duty.
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs (Baltimore, Maryland): An officer was charged with attempted murder and home invasion after breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s home and shooting her multiple times. She survived and another person who was in the home was able to forcefully disarm the officer.
  • New Jersey State Police: A trooper was charged with tampering and falsification.
  • Update: Toledo, Ohio (First reported 02-13-15): An officer was sentenced to four years in prison for obstruction and tampering in an alleged murder plot against a witness in a murder case. He was allowed to retire before his trial, where he was acquitted of attempted murder.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 09-19-16

Here are the 17 reports of police misconduct tracked for Monday, September 19, 2016:

  • West Palm Beach, Florida: An officer was arrested for DUI in April, but the information was only recently released.
  • Update: Topeka, Kansas (First reported 05-10-16): An officer who was arrested for DUI has been approved for diversion and, if completed successfully, his charge will be expunged. An administrative discipline will not be made public.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: A now-former officer was charged for stealing from evidence while on duty.
  • Seminole County, Florida: A deputy was charged with stealing oxycodone pills from police safe for personal use.
  • Alameda County, California: A deputy who is connected to the ongoing Bay Area policing scandal violated a restraining order filed by his wife and has been fired. Criminal charges are pending.
  • Central Oregon Community College: A now-former public safety officer was charged with aggravated murder and kidnapping after a violent crime spree.
  • Richland County, South Carolina: A deputy was arrested for physically abusing his stepson.
  • San Antonio, Texas: An officer was arrested for domestic violence after allegedly striking his wife.
  • Shreveport, Louisiana: An officer was arrested for failing to report child abuse while working as a school liaison officer.
  • Alamo, Tennessee: The assistant chief was arrested for domestic violence. He had been previously terminated from the Crockett County Sheriffs’ Office.
  • Update: Miami Beach, Florida (First reported 07-21-14): An officer was ordered to be reinstated after being fired for being so drunk while in uniform that he was hospitalized. He was working an off-duty detail as security at a bar.
  • Update: Mount Carmel, Tennessee (First reported 06-01-16): A detective who was fired amid a misconduct investigation was reinstated by the mayor.
  • San Antonio, Texas: An officer was suspended indefinitely for numerous allegations including raping his ex-girlfriend.
  • Update: Baltimore County, Maryland (First reported 05-02-16): A suspended officer had an armed standoff with police for the second time. This standoff ended with his suicide.
  • Clarkstown, New York: The chief was hit with 22 administrative charges for ethics violations. He claims vindictive persecution.
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma: Two officers are on leave after the fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black motorist. Dash and helicopter camera footage has been released.
  • Bledsoe County, Tennessee: A deputy was fired for pawning county-owned firearms. No charges have been filed yet.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 09-16-16

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, September 16, 2016:

  • Galveston, Texas: The City and one of its officers are being sued by a woman who claims the officer broke her leg and then left her helpless and without medical attention.
  • Houston, Texas Metro Transit: Two officers were suspended during an investigation into an alleged inappropriate use of force against a passenger.
  • Indio, California: An officer was charged with rape by force, sex penetration by force and oral copulation by force against an 18-year-old woman.
  • Update: Brunswick, Maine (First reported 06-28-16): A now-former officer pled guilty to sending an obscene selfie to agents posing as a 14-year-old girl.
  • Maryland State Police: A trooper was arrested after a domestic incident during which he allegedly choked his wife.
  • Van Buren County, Michigan: Two officers were arrested in unrelated incidents. One was arrested for OWI. The other was arrested on domestic violence charges.
  • Update: Orleans Parish, Louisiana (First reported 04-18-16): The chief deputy pled guilty to charges involving an off-duty detail scheme.
  • Manatee County, Florida: A deputy was arrested for prescription pill distribution. He allegedly gave away Klonopin while off duty. He was fired.
  • Chicago, Illinois: An officer was indicted on federal civil rights charges for shooting at a car full of teenagers. Previously, the City settled with the victims for $360,000.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 09-15-16

Here are the 13 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, September 15, 2016:

  • Los Angeles, California Airports: The assistant chief resigned amid investigations into tax evasion and other misconduct by fellow officers.
  • Update: Waller County, Texas (First reported 07-16-15): The County will pay the bulk of the $1,900,000 wrongful death settlement to the surviving family of Sandra Bland, who died in jail custody.
  • Akron, Ohio: An officer was cited for OVI. His BAC was more than three times the legal limit. He is the third officer since July to be charged with drunk driving.
  • Hazel Park, Michigan: Four officers and the department are being sued by two women who claim they were made to expose their breasts during an early morning traffic stop. They claim one of the officers took cell phone images of the abuse, but the department denies such evidence exists.
  • Jersey City, New Jersey: An officer pled guilty to fraud and conspiracy for taking $230,000 in illegal payments for off-duty work and subsequently not reporting the income. He is scheduled to be sentenced January 10, 2017.
  • Licking County, Ohio: A deputy was charged with unlawful restraint and disorderly conduct in a sexual misconduct case.
  • Update: Greene County, Missouri First reported 01-07-16): A deputy was sentenced to seven years in prison and an additional ten years of supervised release for child pornography conviction.
  • Newark, New Jersey: An officer was charged with sexually assaulting a young girl while he was off
  • Tallassee, Alabama: An officer was indicted for assault for an alleged excessive force incident.
  • Atlanta, Georgia: An officer was suspended after he allegedly exposed himself to someone and masturbated in a mall restroom. The victim’s mother worked in mall security, and the officer was apprehended in the parking lot. The age of the victim is not mentioned in the report.
  • Update: Joliet, Illinois (First reported 02-23-12): A now-former officer was indicted by a federal grand jury for using excessive force in a 2012 arrest. The officer was fired and charged for the incident in the local jurisdiction. He was acquitted.
  • Brownsville, Tennessee: An officer was arrested on a domestic assault charge after punching his girlfriend in the face.
  • New York, New York: An officer was arrested for assaulting a female J-train conductor while he was off duty.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 09-14-16

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for September 14, 2016:

  • Wilson County, Tennessee: A deputy was arrested for sex crimes against a 16-year-old. He has been fired.
  • Los Angeles, California: Two officers were criminally charged for attempting to cover-up DUI crash and filing a false report.
  • St. Louis, Missouri: A now-former sergeant pled guilty to federal charges for stealing $80,000 from police organization he headed.
  • Penns Grove, New Jersey: An officer was charged with drug distribution. He is the second PG officer charged with drug violations this year.
  • Hartford, Connecticut: The City will pay $2,900,000 to the estate of a man killed when an officer struck his vehicle while the officer was en route to assist other officers.
  • East Helena, Montana: An officer was charged with assault after punching a man at the scene of a crash while he was off
  • New Castle County, Delaware: An officer was arrested for child pornography.
  • Montgomery, Alabama: An officer was arrested for domestic violence and harassment.
  • North Vernon, Indiana: An officer was charged with misconduct for evidence theft and forgery for faking medical records.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 09-13-16

Here are the 13 cases of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, September 13, 2016:

  • Assumption Parish, Louisiana: A deputy resigned and turned herself in for charges related to a domestic incident and felony destruction of property.
  • Kitsap County, Washington: A now-former deputy was charged with perjury after an alleged off-duty hit-and-run.
  • Stanton County, Kansas: The sheriff was arrested on domestic violence charges.
  • Southlake, Texas: Two officers were disciplined for tasing a woman during a DUI stop before drawing blood for BAC test. One was demoted, the other was suspended one day.
  • Broward County, Florida: A deputy was charged with fraud for several shoplifting incidents at Wal-Mart, including at least once in uniform.
  • Montgomery County, Ohio: A deputy was suspended during an investigation into whether he misused $60,000 in FOP lodge funds.
  • Update: Burlington, Vermont (First reported 07-16-15): A now-former officer pled guilty to charges related to a fatal DUI crash. Her sentence will be determined after hearings slated for November.
  • Austin, Texas: An officer was suspended 20 days for tasing a handcuffed detainee at SXSW.
  • Update: St. Clair County, Missouri (First reported 05-25-16): A now-former deputy was given three years’ probation for his role in a fraudulent scheme to attain West Virginia unemployment benefits for a jail inmate.
  • California Highway Patrol: An officer was arrested and charged with child pornography transmission.
  • Update: Bethel, Alaska (First reported 02-23-16): A now-former officer was sentenced to 120 days for beating and injuring an intoxicated man during his arrest. The City previously settled a civil suit with the victim.
  • Orange County, Texas: A now-former detective pled guilty to laundering money stolen from HUD. The plea deal suggests a sentence of one year and one day in
  • Franklin County, New York: A now-former undersheriff pled guilty to ordering deputies to harass county legislators that had been hostile to the sheriff. One legislator was arrested on a bogus DUI charge.

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