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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 09-28-16

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, September 28, 2016:

  • Update: Anthony, Texas (First reported 09-06-16): The officer who was arrested for stealing from the American Legion post he led was arrested again for stealing from the police lodge he also led. ow.ly/fAgH304CWNx
  • Pittsfield, Massachusetts: An officer was terminated after a lengthy suspension on several misconduct allegations.ow.ly/oEJd304CXKh
  • Update: Roswell, New Mexico (First reported 05-18-16): An officer who was previously arrested for domestic violence against his wife has been fired.ow.ly/QaQy304CXZA
  • Update: Owasso County, Oklahoma (First reported 11-09-11): A now-former officer who was fired twice for excessive force will go on trial for his second assault November 28. ow.ly/A4XY304CYd7
  • Hood River, Oregon: A deputy was charged with luring a child and other charges related to sexual abuse of a minor.ow.ly/Srkd304CZ4s
  • Cadillac, Michigan: An officer pled guilty to OWI while off duty. ow.ly/gBor304CZZ0
  • Clute, Texas: A now-former officer pled guilty to financial misappropriation. In exchange for the plea, his perjury and tampering charges were dropped. ow.ly/fdlL304D0wL
  • Update: Mercer County, New Jersey (First reported 11-02-15): A now-former officer was given a suspended jail sentence for leaking the mugshot of a then-14-year-old suspect. ow.ly/FN5a304D0QI
  • Update: Adams County, Colorado (First reported 11-30-15): A now-former deputy was acquitted of assault for a May 2015 altercation outside of a bar. ow.ly/HiZN304D1hB

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 09-27-16

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, September 27, 2016:

  • Gaffney, South Carolina: An officer resigned after he was accused of using excessive force against a handcuffed detainee. The matter is under investigation. ow.ly/2oED304ALz3
  • New York, New York: An officer was arrested for threatening his girlfriend with a knife and stealing furniture from her home. ow.ly/LrVH304ALMj
  • Update: Baltimore, Maryland (First reported 01-19-16): A now-former officer was given one year of home detention after his plea to assaulting a teen in the hospital. Two other now-former officers received probation for their roles in the incident. ow.ly/YMJ2304AMHA
  • Update: New York, New York (First reported 07-07-16): An officer was indicted for second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter for fatally shooting Delrawn Small in what has been called a road rage incident off duty. ow.ly/QBiM304AN6j
  • Update: Bristol, Connecticut (First reported 01-20-16): An officer was suspended 30 days for threatening his supervisor. ow.ly/Mmto304ANMd
  • Update: Santa Barbara, California (First reported 07-18-16): A now-former officer was sentenced to four months in jail for workers’ compensation fraud and ordered to pay $115,669 in restitution. ow.ly/N4DE304AO2g
  • Starkville, Mississippi: An officer was suspended for five days and put on administrative probation for one year after a bad arrest of two college football players. ow.ly/lVvb304AOlJ
  • Update: Henrico County, Virginia (First reported 03-02-16): A deputy who was indicted for wounding a man by shooting into a car is scheduled to go on trial in October. ow.ly/C5pD304CA05
  • Temple, Texas: A now-former officer was indicted for making false statements about alerting individuals outside of law enforcement about a pending police investigation. ow.ly/ICBC304CCPd

AP Report on Misuse of Police Databases

This morning, the Associated Press published results of their investigation into the unauthorized access of law enforcement databases by police officers. Unsurprising to regular readers of PoliceMisconduct.net, they found egregious abuses including stalking, harassment, and selling of personal information.

Unspecified discipline was imposed in more than 90 instances reviewed by AP. In many other cases, it wasn’t clear from the records if punishment was given at all. The number of violations was surely far higher since records provided were spotty at best, and many cases go unnoticed.

Among those punished: an Ohio officer who pleaded guilty to stalking an ex-girlfriend and who looked up information on her; a Michigan officer who looked up home addresses of women he found attractive; and two Miami-Dade officers who ran checks on a journalist after he aired unflattering stories about the department.

“It’s personal. It’s your address. It’s all your information, it’s your Social Security number, it’s everything about you,” said Alexis Dekany, the Ohio woman whose ex-boyfriend, a former Akron officer, pleaded guilty last year to stalking her. “And when they use it for ill purposes to commit crimes against you — to stalk you, to follow you, to harass you … it just becomes so dangerous.”

Law enforcement discipline and self-monitoring is notoriously opaque and varies jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so it is impossible to know how often these abuses happen. While it would be unfair to say that most police officers violate these laws and rules, it is unfortunately not uncommon either. Police departments should regularly audit the logins and access to sensitive personal data to protect the privacy of individuals and maintain the integrity of their own agencies.

You can read the whole AP story here. You can scroll through many of the cases we found that document the phenomenon on Twitter here. And if you don’t follow us on Twitter already, check us out at @NPMRP.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 09-26-16

Here are the 15 reports of police misconduct tracked for Monday, September 26, 2016:

  • Leadwood, Missouri: A now-former officer pled guilty to stealing $40,000 from a woman’s home while  he was off-duty and in plainclothes. ow.ly/z1Th304xWW1
  • Update: Aledo, Illinois (First reported 12-17-14): A now-former officer pled guilty to misdemeanors. He was originally charged with the aggravated sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl while he was on duty.   ow.ly/AcZK304xXtG
  • Savannah-Chatham, Georgia: An officer was fired, and a second officer was suspended, for improperly handling a report of shots fired. ow.ly/4ewn304xXMH
  • Troy, Missouri: An officer is under criminal investigation by the state police for sexual misconduct with a teenager. He resigned. ow.ly/DBaF304y4cs
  • Schenectady, New York: An officer is accused of abusing a woman after her arrest and dunking her head in an unflushed jail toilet. No charges or lawsuit have been filed but the department is investigating the incident. ow.ly/ODnw304y5xm
  • Pasco County, Florida: A deputy resigned after his arrest for DUI. He crashed into a house. ow.ly/tmqw304y71P
  • Lowndes County, Alabama: The chief deputy is facing an assault charge for attacking a 20-year-old while he was on duty in the county courthouse. ow.ly/4b8H304zAlk
  • Joplin, Missouri: A now-former officer pled guilty to civil rights charges for offering to help a DWI suspect with her case in the hopes of befriending the woman and sleeping with her. He resigned his position in January. ow.ly/KgRO304zGhR
  • Update: Covert Township, Michigan (First reported 07-21-16): An officer was bound over for trial for raping the intoxicated girlfriend of a DUI suspect he had put in jail earlier in the evening. His is alleged to have dropped her off at a hotel and returned to have sex with her. The officer claims the sex was consensual, but the woman says she was too drunk to give consent.  ow.ly/PDIB304zHLd
  • Update: Baltimore, Maryland (First reported 05-01-14): An officer was convicted of aggravated assault but acquitted of attempted first-degree murder for a shooting incident in York, Pennsylvania. ow.ly/P11N304zIZ8
  • Elk Grove Village, Illinois: An officer resigned after he was discovered to have written traffic warnings for incidents that never occurred. ow.ly/GQIi304zNoR
  • Tahlequah, Oklahoma: An officer was fired for policy violations, including intimidating his girlfriend’s ex-husband and other aggressive social conduct on and off duty. ow.ly/9HIr304zOna
  • Greenup County, Kentucky: A deputy was suspended after his arrest for DUI. ow.ly/1S4d304zQFj
  • East Grand Rapids, Michigan: An officer pled guilty to DUI and leaving the scene of an accident while off duty. He was fined $750. ow.ly/hJOS304A0KJ
  • Albemarle, Virginia: An officer was granted qualified immunity against two civil charges, but it was denied in two others, in pending excessive force lawsuits. ow.ly/IiW2304Akls

DC Event 9/29: You Have the Right to Remain Innocent

The police are supposed to protect and serve the public.  Most police procedural dramas on television–perennially among the most popular shows for decades–paint a picture of officers working diligently and honestly to catch the bad guys. Many children are taught that police officers are among the most trusted members of the community and that there is no need to fear them. But is that how police work in real life?

Not exactly.

Police officers are trained to extract information from people whether or not they are criminal suspects. Indeed, one of the more common tricks officers use is getting people to give up the right to refuse a search of their person or property. With consent, police officers can rummage through your pockets and cars–or even your homes–looking for a reason to arrest you.

For this reason, talking to police when you don’t have to is often a bad idea. So many of the wrongfully convicted people in this country didn’t exercise their right to be silent and were put away because they didn’t think they had anything to hide. How wrong they were.

On Thursday, Cato is hosting an event with Prof. James Duane, the law professor whose lecture to NEVER talk to the police went viral. He’s here to discuss his book on self-incrimination and the criminal justice system, You Have the Right to Remain Innocent. The book is engaging, informative, and easy to read. Cato adjunct Randy Barnett of Georgetown University Law Center will be commenting on the book and it will be moderated by our own Tim Lynch.

Copies of the book will be sold at the event. You can register for the free event and lunch here. You can join the discussion online using the Twitter hashtag #6ARights.

Cross-posted from Cato@Liberty

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 09-23-16

Here are the ten reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, September 23, 2016:

  • Update: New York, New York (First reported 02-04-12): The officer who fatally shot Ramarley Graham after chasing him into his apartment will face administrative trial for the incident. ow.ly/zsrq304uOsN
  • Broward County, Florida: A deputy was charged with falsifying off-duty work detail hours. ow.ly/cKo4304uPm6
  • Dallas, Texas: An officer was charged with misdemeanor oppression for slapping a man who called him a racial epithet. ow.ly/A2cE304uPxv
  • Update: Ohio State Highway Patrol (First reported 01-20-16): An officer will stand trial in October for stalking and theft from evidence. ow.ly/jjhU304uYsQ
  • Livingston, California: A now-former officer was sentenced to three months in jail for assaulting a handcuffed detainee. ow.ly/11CI304uYLy
  • Phoenix, Arizona: Three officers resigned and are now under criminal investigation for making a man eat marijuana to avoid going to jail. ow.ly/YmkQ304vrub
  • Miami Beach, Florida: The City settled a lawsuit with a good Samaritan who was beaten by a plainclothes officer for intervening when the officer was attacking someone else for $100,000. ow.ly/6Gbz304vrKH
  • Update: Las Vegas, Nevada (First reported 01-19-16): An officer was acquitted of kidnapping, coercion and domestic battery by strangulation for actions against his ex-girlfriend. ow.ly/gi4c304vGUU
  • Jackson, Georgia: An officer was charged with tampering and making false statements for staging an ambush and claiming she was shot by an assailant. ow.ly/SSvt304vK6b
  • Louisville, Kentucky: An officer was charged with molesting a young girl over the course of several years. ow.ly/ymyL304vHID

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. http://bit.ly/2db1c3y
  • Richland County, South Carolina: A deputy interfered with her son’s arrest and was charged with hindering. ow.ly/s2y1304suWT
  • 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. ow.ly/PSLJ304sPfS
  • Fulton County, New York: A deputy was arrested for grand larceny for stealing firearms and then selling them. ow.ly/lHyS304sTKt
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: An officer was charged with putting marijuana in the mail. ow.ly/IbBn304sTSu
  • 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. ow.ly/6Xkt304sUjM
  • Pasco County, Florida: A deputy was fired after striking a restrained inmate and charged with battery. ow.ly/mNJ7304sY3Q
  • Trenton, New Jersey: An officer took his own life after being put under investigation for engaging in a sex act with a sex worker. ow.ly/Pdwu304sYqW
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma: An officer was charged with first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher. ow.ly/7Vs4304ttno
  • Memphis, Tennessee: Fiver officers were suspended for using excessive force during an arrest and not reporting that force. ow.ly/krkJ304sYZU

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. ow.ly/cYlP304q6Ki
  • Update: Sandusky County, Ohio (First reported 08-23-16): A detective who was suspended while under investigation has resigned. ow.ly/j3Ms304q7SV
  • 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. ow.ly/uIxF304qtnH
  • 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. ow.ly/XeUI304qFC8
  • 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. ow.ly/q6Hj304qOgh
  • 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. ow.ly/ywSm304qUTF
  • 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. ow.ly/8yLd304qW5P
  • San Bernardino County, California: A deputy was arrested for a domestic violence incident. ow.ly/oELP304r0
  • 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. http://bit.ly/2cFRfbE

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