National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Teaching Them a Lesson

From the New York Times:

The confusion and trouble began that day when Officer Anthony Giambra arrived at the apartment door a few minutes after the 911 call, as an ambulance and fire truck pulled up outside. Ms. LaFont started to tell Officer Giambra about her husband’s condition, but the dog broke loose and raced into the street. She went after the animal.

When she returned, Officer Giambra had thrown Mr. Peltomaa up against a hallway wall and was trying to handcuff him. The professor’s surgical wound was pressed hard against the surface, she said. She gripped the officer’s shoulder and yelled at him to stop. “You’re under arrest,” the officer told her, as another officer hustled her back into her apartment and handcuffed her….

Mr. Peltomaa denies he ever fought with Officer Giambra, though he recalls being confused about why he needed handcuffs to go the hospital. After he was cuffed, he said, the officer shoved him down face first on the tile floor, splitting open his chin and dislocating his thumb.

Then the officers flipped Mr. Peltomaa over, grabbed him by his clothes and dragged him to the ambulance. Ms. LaFont said she was taken to the precinct and put in a squalid cell. Officer Giambra, munching a candy bar, told her Mr. Peltomaa was fine and would be home before she would. “He said he needed to teach me the lesson that you are never allowed to touch a police officer,” she recalled.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 01-16-14

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, January 16, 2014:

  • Washington, DC: A police officer was sentenced for domestic violence charges. He was given a 10 year suspended sentence and 18 months of supervised probation after pleading guilty to second degree assault for strangling his wife.
  • Crossville, Alabama: A police officer was placed on leave after alleged charges for domestic violence were filed against him.
  • Update: Fort. Lauderdale, Florida (First reported 06-04-12): Back in June 2012, we reported that a group of Ft. Lauderdale police officers were charged with official misconduct.  Those charges stemmed from the officers’ sworn testimony about a chase—implicating the fleeing burglar in several additional crimes, including attempted homicide on a law enforcement officer.  It was alleged that the additional charges were fabricated in order to justify the physical force used against the suspect after he was apprehended. After a 6-day trial in February 2013, Detective Sgt. Michael Florenco and Detectives Matthew Moceri and Geoffrey Shaffer were acquitted.  Full story here.
  • Lowell, Massachusetts: An officer has been on paid administrative leave as internal-affairs investigators probed his handling of sex charges against another police officer under his command. He has been served with termination papers.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A 16-year-old charter school student says he was roughed up by police so badly it sent him to the hospital with injuries that could last a lifetime.
  • Parker, Arizona: The police chief has submitted his resignation amidst an investigation into alleged criminal activity and sexual harassment.
  • Salem, New Hampshire: A police officer is on unpaid leave and charged with two counts of simple assault stemming from an arrest he made. The charges allege he struck the victim on the head with a flashlight and stepped on his hand while the man was handcuffed and sitting on the ground.
  • Update: Lawrence, Massachusetts (First reported 09-26-12): A now-former police officer has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for his role in a city towing kickback scheme. He was also sentenced to three years’ probation and fined $10,000, half of which must be paid within 60 days.

Kelly Thomas Verdict

As noted earlier this week, the police officers in the Kelly Thomas case were acquitted.   Some videos below.  Everyone is invited to draw their own conclusions.

I was interviewed for a forthcoming documentary on the Thomas case just before Christmas–so before the outcome of the trial.

Another video, produced much earlier, by Reason TV


National Police Misconduct Reporting Project 01-15-13

Here are the 13 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, January 15, 2013:

  • Update: Evansville, Indiana (Previously reported 08-29-13): A state trooper pleaded guilty to a charge of resisting law enforcement. He was originally charged with criminal recklessness and public intoxication after patrons at a bar claimed he was waving a gun inside the establishment.
  • Update: Newark, New Jersey (First reported 11-5-13): A police officer was sentenced to three years probation and 200 hours of community service for torching his SUV so he could collect on the insurance.
  • Austin, Texas: A police officer was fired after being pulled over for driving while intoxicated. He plans to appeal the termination.
  • Mono County, California: An attorney says his client was “unconstitutionally and unlawfully seized, searched, arrested, and jailed by two sheriff’s officers – a sergeant and a deputy – in a way that made him feel as if he had been baited, hunted, and trapped for no legitimate reason.” The Sheriff would not make a comment.
  • Update: Yoakum County, Texas (First reported 10-03-13): Federal prosecutors say a now-former sheriff’s deputy has been sentenced to four years prison for distributing cocaine.
  • Union City, Oklahoma: A police officer was arrested on two felony charges, including possession of stolen property, and providing firearms to a convicted felon.
  • Update: Howard County, Maryland (First reported 07-08-13): The police officer who was accused and acquitted of assaulting a man in an off-duty incident resigned during the department’s internal investigation.
  • Harvey, Illinois: Police shot a man in the back of the leg without cause, threatened to “shoot the shit out of” a witness with a camera, then shot to death a witness’s puppy, the wounded man and dog owner claim in federal lawsuits.
  • Ludowici, Georgia: The Police Chief was suspended without pay last week after allegations arose from current or former officers, and 2 inmates, about everything from sexual harassment, racism, to evidence tampering.
  • Update: Kentwood, Georgia (Previously reported 9-19-13): The Police Chief pled guilty to one felony count of malfeasance in office in connection with a missing evidence case involving $2,000 in cash. This comes after he pleaded not guilty to the same charges.
  • Update: Prescott, Arizona (Previously reported 05-20-13): A now-former police officer has pleaded guilty to disorderly contact, a charge, stemming from a bar fight that left a man bloodied and bruised.
  • Lee County, Florida: A deputy has been fired after being arrested on charges of driving under the influence, according to an internal affairs investigation report.
  • Bend, Oregon: A police lieutenant who served as public information officer has resigned after an investigation determined he had sex with three city employees and a journalist. Documents say some encounters occurred while he was on duty and in uniform, and some occurred in a department restroom, his office, a storage area and a marked police vehicle on secluded streets.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 01-14-14

Here are the 7 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, January 14, 2013:

  • Orange County, Florida: A deputy sheriff was suspended without pay after he was jailed on felony insurance-fraud charges.
  • Update: Fullerton, California (Previously reported 05-16-13): The two police officers who were videotaped in a violent struggle with a homeless man during an arrest were acquitted of his murder.
  • Lincoln, Illinois: Two women are seeking $500,000 in a lawsuit against a man, two police officers and the city. They said a video recording, taken without their consent or knowledge, of them changing clothes was played for other police officers and several firefighters.
  • Update: Beacon, New York (First reported 1-18-13): A suspended police detective convicted of reporting a false burglary to police to cover up an affair he had with a criminal informant was sentenced to six months in jail.
  • Update: Charlotte, North Carolina (First reported 11-16-13): Attorneys for the family of a man shot to death by a police officer have sued, saying the department used excessive force in the death of a former Florida A&M football player.
  • Pooler, Georgia: A now-former police officer has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges related to drug conspiracy. He is charged with aiding and abetting in connection with the illegal possession and distribution of numerous controlled substances.
  • Lyman, South Carolina: An officer has been accused of destroying evidence. He was arrested and charged with misconduct in office and obstructing justice.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 01-11-14 to 01-13-14

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, January 11, to Monday, January 13, 2014:

  • Brooksville, Florida: A captain has been arrested on misdemeanor battery charges. The alleged victim said the captain battered him and the altercation was unprovoked. A sheriff’s office investigation validated the accusations and an arrest warrant was issued.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio: An officer admitted he used a prostitute and then helped her sell herself. He pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution and two counts of unauthorized use of the police crime computer to look up information on his girlfriend and her relative.
  • Washington, DC: A former police officer was sentenced to 40 hours of community service and six months of probation for taking nearly $1,000 in money orders from a woman who was under arrest.
  • Update: Atlantic City, New Jersey (First reported 11-25-13): Two now-former police officers were sentenced to two years’ probation. One officer admitted he was in uniform when he offered cash to a female in exchange for sexual favors in his patrol car. The other admitted using cocaine while in uniform.
  • Monroe, Louisiana: Officer faces trial for charges of payroll fraud, malfeasance in office and conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
  • Pleasant View, Tennessee: The police chief was arrested and charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest. He was released from jail on $1,000 bond.
  • Cranston, Rhode Island: The police chief has been put on paid administrative leave while the State Police investigate a parking-ticket scandal.
  • Update: Delaware, Ohio (Previously reported 12-19-13): The family of a man who was killed after two deputy sheriffs and a State Highway Patrol trooper did not arrest him for drunken driving is suing the county, the law-enforcement officers and others for the man’s death. The deputies and the trooper had found the intoxicated man in his truck. They didn’t charge him, but instead the deputies dropped him off at a fast-food restaurant. He later wandered into the road and was hit by a car and killed.
  • Los Angeles, California: A woman who fell out of a moving police car has accused an officer of sexually assaulting her while she was handcuffed in the back seat of the vehicle.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 01-10-14

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct newsfeed tracked for Friday, January 10, 2014:

  • Richmond, Virginia: An officer has been arrested following a State Police investigation. He faces a charge of using a computer for invasion of privacy.
  • Hamilton County, Tennessee: A patrol deputy has been terminated after handcuffing a woman and forcing her to perform oral sex on him while he was on duty.
  • Cheshire, Connecticut: A police officer was charged with stealing nearly $50,000 form the police union he served as president and vice president. He was charged with two counts of first-degree larceny.
  • Ottawa County, Ohio: The now-former sheriff was charged with one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds. He used about $5,000 for personal items.
  • Vaiden, Mississippi: The now-former police chief has been sentenced to three months’ probation after pleading guilty to arson.
  • Update: Mendenhall, Mississippi (Previously reported 05-21-13): A former police chief pled guilty to conspiring to demand money and property from people in exchange for dropping criminal charges.
  • Chicago, Illinois: A man is suing the police department. He accuses officers of beating him and sodomizing him with a gun to force him to cooperate as drug informant.
  • Aurora, Indiana: The police chief, who is facing criminal charges, will resign. He was charged with one count of domestic battery and two counts of battery resulting in bodily injury.
  • Pinellas County, Florida: A veteran Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office corporal and a patrol deputy resigned Monday while under investigation over unrelated allegations. The Corporal is accused of having sex while on duty. The patrol deputy is under investigation for a domestic incident.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 01-09-13

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, January 9, 2014:

  • Memphis, Tennessee: The families of two men who were shot and killed by police officers have filed wrongful death lawsuits against the city, the police director, and four police officers. At the time of both shootings the police said the incidents were justified.
  • Ada County, Idaho: A judge decided that an officer lied when he applied for a search warrant that led to marijuana trafficking charges against a couple. Now the couple is suing the officer in federal court. They are seeking undetermined damages.
  • West Sacramento, California: When police officers responded to a domestic disturbance call at a home, the homeowner said he was shot by one of the officers who was out of control. He has filed a civil lawsuit against the Police Department and the city.
  • Update: Seattle, Washington (Previously reported 12-08-13): A police detective who pled guilty to cyberstalking-domestic violence has been sentenced to 90 days in jail for posting sexually explicit photographs of a woman after she ended an extramarital affair with him.
  • Brooklyn Center, Minnesota: A mother claims her son was shot and killed by police while he was in handcuffs. The officers say they pulled the trigger because the man was attacking them. The family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against one of the officers.
  • Huber Heights, Ohio: A woman is suing a police officer and the city for excessive force and brutality a year after she was pinned to a squad car and handcuffed after a traffic stop.
  • Dallas, Texas: A woman’s attorneys say there was never any evidence that she shot and killed her boyfriend, but, they contend, that didn’t stop a detective from lying about evidence against her and omitting key facts that resulted in the woman spending nine days in jail on a murder charge.
  • Kinder, Louisiana: The police chief was arrested on theft and malfeasance charges. An audit showed that he used town credit cards to purchase excessive amounts of gas.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 01-08-14

Here are the 12 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, January 08, 2014:

  • Update: Bellevue, Washington (First reported 12-06-13): A police officer on suspension following an alleged drunk driving incident pleaded not guilty to a DUI charge
  • Hernando County, Florida: A man, acquitted of felony battery charges against a law enforcement officer, is now seeking $10 million in damages from sheriff’s deputies. He filed a lawsuit, claiming constitutional rights were violated by four current and former deputies who used excessive force, as well as unlawful search, false arrest and covering up the use of excessive force, when investigating a noise complaint.
  • Update: McHenry, Illinois (First reported 08-15-13): A former sheriff’s deputy who investigated child pornography has pleaded guilty to federal charges involving sex with a minor.
  • Rockdale County, Georgia: A deputy with the County Sheriff’s Office resigned after being arrested for driving drunk and injuring three passengers.
  • Jackson, Mississippi: A former narcotics officer has been sentenced to nearly two years in prison for his role in a scheme to help a man get a reduced sentence in a drug case in exchange for $45,000.
  • Seabrook, New Hampshire: Video showing a police officer throwing a teenager against a wall at the police department following an arrest lead to three police officers being placed on leave. They are on paid administrative leave while the investigation takes place.
  • Fort Worth, Texas: A police officer who was arrested for allegedly having sex with prostitutes has been fired. He is awaiting trial.
  • Kyle City, Texas: A police chief is being sued in federal court for allegedly harassing the husband of a woman with whom he purportedly fathered a son.
  • Update: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (First reported 10-09-13): A since-fired police officer will spend one to two years on work release from a halfway house, followed by six months’ house arrest, for an off-duty motorcycle crash that killed his fiancée’s friend.
  • Portland, Oregon: A police officer was arrested and accused of vandalizing a neighbor’s vehicle. He was off-duty at the time of the incident.
  • Lewis County, Washington: A sheriff’s office deputy was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and has been placed on administrative leave.
  • Omaha, Nebraska: Members of a Omaha family filed a lawsuit in federal court with the help of the ACLU. The lawsuit alleges that excessive force and a warrantless search and seizure were used in response to a parking incident.

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