National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 08-01-14

Here are the 14 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, August 1, 2014:

  • Update: Lakeland, Florida (Previously reported 09-26-13): The city has paid a $25,000 settlement to a woman ordered to shake out her bra during a traffic stop.
  • Los Angeles, California: Two officers are under investigation for their use of force on a female suspect in a holding cell. The force used on the woman, who had been arrested on suspicion of petty theft, included kicking and punching and resulted in her being taken to a hospital to be treated for her injuries.
  • Update: Seabrook, New Hampshire (First reported 04-11-14): Two officers have been fired. A third officer was suspended for two days without pay and a fourth has been demoted to patrolman. The disciplinary actions are the end result of an investigation into a videotaped incident showing excessive force against a 19 year old man.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh has agreed to pay $35,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a woman who accused a now-former city police officer of assaulting her. The woman claimed the city should not have allowed the officer to be on the force because he failed his psychological exam and should have removed him from the force when two women filed sex assault complaints previously.
  • Norwalk, Connecticut: The attorney for a man who suffered multiple injuries during an arrest filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city and four police officers. It says police officers violated his civil rights and caused a series of injuries, some of which were deemed permanent.
  • Update; Los Angeles, California (First reported 07-07-14): The woman punched by an officer along a freeway has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the officer and head of the agency. The suit alleges that the unnamed officer used excessive force. “The punches, the brutality, the viciousness of the attack itself are all violations of her 4th Amendment rights to be free from excessive force,” said her attorney.
  • Fishers, Indiana: A teenager and his parents will file a lawsuit after the teen was attacked by a police dog. The review by the chief of police said the K-9 officer gave repeated commands to stop running and was in complete control of his dog.
  • Update; New Orleans, Louisiana (First reported 11-26-13): A pair of now-former narcotics detectives each were sentenced to 18 months in prison after they pled guilty to working side jobs while on the clock for the city and taking cash that was supposed to go to drug informants.
  • Estelline, Texas: The city is reviewing its police procedures after authorities reached a $77,500 legal settlement with a woman who alleged officers illegally seized more than $29,000 from her pickup and kept $1,400 of her cash.
  • Memphis, Michigan: The police chief was fired after she was driving a city police car that went through a stop sign on a gravel road, striking a FedEx delivery truck.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Six city narcotics officers used gangland tactics to shake down drug dealers, relying on guns, badges, beatings and threats to extort huge piles of cash and cocaine, federal authorities charged. The police officers once held a suspect over an 18th floor balcony and used a steel bar to beat someone else in the head, authorities said. They also held one man captive in a hotel room for several days while he and his family were threatened.
  • Galion, Ohio: A police lieutenant and his wife were both arrested by police on charges of domestic violence.
  • Newton County, Texas: The sheriff has been indicted on one count of terroristic threat on a public servant and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. The charge is a third-degree felony.  If convicted, he could be sentenced to from 2 to 10 years in prison. He will face a $10,000 bond when arraigned on the charge.
  • Update: East Hartford, Connecticut (Previously reported 03-28-14): A now-former police officer has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for possession of child pornography.  Prosecutors say he will serve five years of supervised release following his prison time.

National Police Miscondcut NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-31-14

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, July 31, 2014:

  • Oakland, California: Relatives of a man who collapsed while struggling with police and later died have filed a federal wrongful-death lawsuit against the city. The coroner concluded that the man died of multiple drug intoxication, with “physical exertion” as a contributing factor.
  • Update: Hodgenville, Kentucky (First reported 07-01-14): A not-guilty plea was entered for the police chief. He is charged with official misconduct and hindering prosecution.
  • Covington, Tennessee: A now-former police officer has been found guilty of misconduct. A jury found him guilty of official misconduct and misuse of official information. He knew his father was a felon and still allowed him to have more than 20 guns.
  • Grundy County, Tennessee: A now-former captain for the sheriff’s office has been indicted on charges of theft and misconduct after allegedly stealing handguns from an evidence room.
  • Bibb County, Georgia: Bond has been set at $55,500 for a deputy accused of child sex crimes. He was arrested and could lose his job after authorities said he approached a teenage girl to make “sexual contact” and repeatedly touched her in a sexual way, even though she asked him to stop repeatedly.
  • Pacific, Missouri: A now-former police officer is facing felony drug charges. Prosecutors say he was still with the department when he allegedly stole narcotics.
  • Update: Lilburn, Georgia (First reported 02-24-14): More than five months after an investigation was launched into her alleged theft of prescription drug evidence, a now-former police officer has been arrested.
  • Santa Ana, California: Police said this week the department is investigating the use of force by officers recorded by a nearby surveillance camera the night of the arrest.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-30-14

Here are the 17 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, July 30, 2014:

  • Macomb, Illinois: A patrol officer has been charged with forgery and state benefit fraud. He’s accused of obtaining a Link card in someone else’s name and then using that card. Link cards in Illinois are issued to anyone approved to receive cash assistance or SNAP (food stamp) benefits.
  • Troy, New York: A police officer has been accused of purposefully revealing information about an investigation into a drug ring to at least one suspect.
  • Update: Miami-Dade, Florida (First reported 04-10-14): A police officer charged with DUI is back in custody for driving with a suspended license and leaving the scene of an accident while out on bond. “I do have serious concerns regarding the safety of the community,” a judge said. He has been placed on paid administrative leave pending his trial.
  • San Antonio, Texas: Three police officers are being investigated for possibly using excessive force, after an incident left a man with injuries to his face, skull and neck. The man said he was struck about 50 times, even though he complied with the officers’ instructions and did not fight back. Shortly after being handcuffed and explaining to officers that he owned the property, a fourth officer approached and said the suspect the officers were actually looking for was in custody nearby.
  • Portland, Oregon: An off-duty police officer is accused of assaulting a teen at an RV park.
  • Manchester, New Hampshire: A now-former police officer has pled guilty to running criminal records checks on stolen identities for someone who was the target of a drug-related investigation.
  • Baltimore, Maryland: A police officer was charged with second-degree assault after prosecutors say he struck a 14-year-old boy who was already apprehended.
  • Clark County, Indiana: An officer gave a prostitute official law enforcement credentials and a deputy’s badge so she could get a government employee rate at a hotel. The two met at a hotel where the officer paid the prostitute $300 for sex and gave her a uniform shirt and other official department clothing. He is also accused of lying to the FBI about it.
  • Atlanta, Georgia: A police officer was fired, two days after being charged in a collision that killed a woman and injured two others.
  • Baldwin, Louisiana: State Troopers have charged a now-former police officer with molesting a 14-year-old girl who lived in his home. Troopers confirmed the officer was charged after the girl gave birth.
  • Update: Chula Vista, California (First reported 06-18-14): A police officer was charged with four misdemeanor battery counts stemming from an off-duty dispute with his girlfriend’s 16-year-old son.
  • Harvey, Illinois: A police detective he has been placed on administrative leave after being arrested for allegedly attacking the boyfriend of his former girlfriend.
  • Panama City, Florida: A police officer is demoted following an internal investigation. The complaint reveals the officer asked two members of staff to look up information on a law enforcement database.
  • North Enid, Oklahoma: A now-former officer arrested on a complaint of driving under the influence was arraigned. He was charged with driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, eluding a police officer and transporting an open container of beer, all misdemeanors.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: City Council approved a $115,000 settlement with a woman who accused a city officer of false arrest in a lawsuit. She alleged that the officer was wrong to arrest her on charges of witness intimidation and simple assault. She spent five days in jail, accused of hitting a witness, but video surveillance showed that she only brushed against the witness, according to the lawsuit.
  • Update: Frankfort, Indiana (First reported 02-12-14): A now-former police officer has pled guilty to charges that he stole nearly $150,000 from a company for which he transported cash.
  • Update: San Diego, California (First reported 02-07-14): A ninth accuser has come forward with graphic allegations of sexual misconduct against a now-former police officer, but for the first time the accuser is a man.


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-29-14

Here are the 11 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, July 29, 2014:

  • Oakland County, Michigan: A now-former sheriff’s deputy was sentenced to three days in jail, which he already served, and one year probation for attempting to resist a police officer following a bar fight.
  • Hometown, Illinois: A police officer was fired after shooting to death a family dog. The mother says her 6-year-old daughter saw the shooting of their dog by the officer.
  • New Orleans, Louisiana: An officer is accused of domestic abuse and reckless driving and hit-and-run charges.
  • Woodbury, New York: An off-duty state trooper was arrested after police say he struck another trooper’s patrol car. He is accused of driving while intoxicated.
  • Richland County, South Carolina: The sheriff’s department has fired a deputy who ran a red light and caused an accident. He was fired following a departmental investigation and examination of the deputy’s driving record.
  • DeKalb County, Georgia: A police officer resigned after coming under fire for shooting a resident’s German Shepherd and then blocking the owner from taking the dog to the vet.
  • Indianapolis, Indiana: An police officer has been arrested on drunken driving charges for the second time within a year.
  • Santa Ana, California: Police officers are being accused of using excessive force after surveillance video emerged showing officers punching and using a baton on a burglary suspect who fled arrest. Video from a neighbor’s security cameras shows the man raising his hands and laying on the ground face-down after being confronted by police officers. An officer then comes to restrain the suspect, putting his knee on the man’s back and punching him repeatedly. Another officer is then seen hitting the man on the legs with what appears to be his police baton.
  • New York, New York: An officer was put on modified assignment after allegedly stomping on a suspect’s head, authorities said. The suspect had been subdued, and then the officer booted the man as he lay on the ground, officials said.
  • Lakeland, FL A police officer was arrested on charges of driving under the influence.
  • Albany, New York: A police officer has resigned from his job after being arrested on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless driving and refusing a breath test.

Problems at the FBI

From the Washington Post:

Nearly every criminal case reviewed by the FBI and the Justice Department as part of a massive investigation started in 2012 of problems at the FBI lab has included flawed forensic testimony from the agency, government officials said.

The findings troubled the bureau, and it stopped the review of convictions last August. Case reviews resumed this month at the order of the Justice Department, the officials said.

U.S. officials began the inquiry after The Washington Post reported two years ago that flawed forensic evidence involving microscopic hair matches might have led to the convictions of hundreds of potentially innocent people. Most of those defendants never were told of the problems in their cases.

One wonders whether the FBI had a good reason for stopping the review.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-26-14 to 07-28-14

Here are the 7 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, July 26 to Monday, July 28, 2014:

  • Iva, South Carolina: The police chief has been arrested on criminal domestic violence charges and suspended from duty.
  • Seminole County, Florida: A deputy accused of soliciting a 17-year-old girl for sex was arrested on a warrant. He was charged with lewd computer solicitation of a child, according to investigators.
  • Update: Columbus, Ohio (First reported 12-13-13): A now-former veteran police officer has been sentenced after admitting to collecting child pornography. He was given 10 ½ years behind bars.
  • Socorro, New Mexico: A police sergeant was indicted on state felony theft charges. He is accused of stealing property of more than $1,500 and less than $20,000 and misapplication of fiduciary property over $1,500.
  • Update: Scott Twp, Pennsylvania (Previously reported 05-13-14): A now-former police chief was sentenced to six months of unsupervised probation. He agreed to a plea deal on charges he hindered investigators in a sex abuse case.
  • Newport, Tennessee: Two police captains were among four people indicted in a misconduct and money laundering case involving stolen goods and prescription pills, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced.
  • Kern County, California: A deputy is set to go on trial for hitting and killing two pedestrians with his patrol car. The deputy is charged with two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter. He was responding to a call of a stolen vehicle. Reports by the California Highway Patrol show he was traveling at 80 mph without the emergency lights and siren activated.

Problems in Milwaukee

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

Two Milwaukee police officers who admitted they were present during invasive body cavity searches that led to felony convictions against a third officer were neither criminally charged nor fired from the department after making deals with prosecutors, according to court records.

One of the two officers, Michael Gasser, was on the scene during a 2010 search that caused the victim to bleed from his anus for several days, according to Gasser’s deposition in a federal civil rights lawsuit.

Not only did Gasser avoid termination, he has been allowed to continue training rookie officers — even though he told internal investigators he didn’t think there was anything wrong with the search, he testified in June.

The second officer, Zachary Thoms, admitted in a deposition that he and Officer Michael Vagnini coerced a suspect to try to defecate into a cardboard box at the District 5 police station in 2011, hoping he would expel hidden drugs.

Meanwhile, two supervisors who were in charge of District 5 while illegal searches were occurring there have been promoted to the highest levels of the department.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-25-14

Here are the 17 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, July 25, 2014:

  • Orlando, Florida: A police officer has been indicted by a grand jury on charges he shot into a vehicle with an assault rifle without justification.
  • Update: Los Angeles, California (First reported 06-18-13): A surfer who was shot at and had his car rammed by police officers during the manhunt for ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner will receive $1.8 million in a settlement.
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Police records found that the suspect in the deaths of two women whose bodies were found in suitcases dumped on a rural road had abused his authority as a police officer by selling cellphone service while on duty. An internal investigation determined he was also stalking women while on duty.
  • Update: Broward, Florida (Previously reported 07-22-14): A second now-former deputy has been sentenced to prison for falsely arresting a woman as part of a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme operated by a disbarred lawyer.
  • Perryville, Missouri: A now-former police chief was sentenced in connection with charges of making a false report. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail and a year of probation for suspended execution of sentence. He will serve 10 days in jail and turn in his police license and certification.
  • Spavinaw, Oklahoma: The police chief was released from jail after being arrested on two complaints of lewd molestation. According to a probable cause affidavit, the girls told investigators they were inappropriately touched by the chief multiple time during a period of years.
  • St. Louis County, Missouri: A 13-year veteran has been charged with felony assault after striking a MetroLink passenger on the hand with his expandable baton following an argument.
  • North Charleston, South Carolina: A police officer was arrested for possessing counterfeit money during a traffic stop. An officer pulled the man over for speeding in excess of 110 mph. Authorities found a police badge that identified the suspect as an officer.
  • Update: Campbell, Wisconsin (First reported 06-10-14): A prosecutor says he plans to charge the police chief with a misdemeanor for allegedly registering a tea party leader on gay dating, pornography and federal health care websites.
  • Update: North Olmsted, Ohio (First reported 05-14-14): A now-former police officer, who held a New Year’s Eve party at his home attended by dozens of teenagers, was sentenced to five days in jail, given three years probation and fined $500.
  • New York, New York: A new video showing the arrest of an alleged subway farebeater purports to show a police officer using a chokehold to subdue the suspect, a prohibited police tactic that’s sparked outrage since another man died after being put in a similar position recently.
  • Denver, Colorado: A police officer and his wife who were involved in a drunken brawl involving another officer and his wife both pled not guilty to charges.
  • Newark, New Jersey: A veteran police officer was indicted on charges that he pulled a gun on a man driving with his wife and son after a traffic dispute.
  • Anderson County, Tennessee: The sheriff and four deputies have been named in a lawsuit that alleges assault and battery and false arrest in what’s described as a case of mistaken identity.
  • Weare, New Hampshire: The city has agreed to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit from a resident who was arrested after videotaping the police during a traffic stop. The resident received $35,000 and a written apology from the police chief.
  • Honolulu, Hawaii: A now-former police officer pled guilty to trying to extort $15,000 from the owners of a local hostess bar. The charge was one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by threats and violence.
  • Jefferson Parish, Louisiana: A now-former deputy sheriff pled guilty to a felony traffic violation, for chasing a narcotics agent who was investigating allegations of illegal drug sales. The deputy sheriff was placed on five years’ probation for aggravated obstruction of a highway.

Problems in Newark, NJ

From the New York Times:

A three-year federal investigation has found that the Newark Police Department engaged in a pattern of unconstitutional practices, chiefly in its use of stop-and-frisk tactics, unwarranted stops and arrests, and discriminatory police actions, officials said on Tuesday.

The inquiry by the Justice Department, which found that the Police Department’s practices “have eroded the community’s trust,” said that about 75 percent of pedestrian stops documented by the police did not provide a sufficient basis for the stop. Also, it found that Newark police officers stopped black people at a considerably higher rate than white people and underreported the use of force by officers, said Paul J. Fishman, the United States attorney for New Jersey. Officials also said there was a pattern of theft of citizens’ property, mostly by officers working in the narcotics, gangs and prisoner processing units.

Note this:

Chief Campos said it was unclear if officers who took part in the unconstitutional behavior cited in the Justice Department report would face consequences.

Unclear?  Hmm.

Problems at the Border Patrol

From the Washington Post:

FOLLOWING MONTHS of damning disclosures about the use of deadly force by Border Patrol agents, Department of Homeland Security officials tightened the rules of engagement this spring. But it remains unclear whether U.S. Customs and Border Protection — with 43,000 agents, the biggest federal law enforcement agency — will end what appears to be a culture of impunity that has shielded agents from consequences and even meaningful investigations following senseless and unjustified killings.

Full editorial here.

Creative Commons License
This work by Cato Institute is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.