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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-23-15

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, July 23, 2015:

  • Buffalo, New York: An officer was indicted on federal civil rights charges for initiating a false arrest of a person.
  • Chicago, Illinois: An officer was arrested for DUI after allegedly striking a pedestrian while off duty.
  • Española, New Mexico: An officer was placed on leave and charged with battery. He has a history of excessive force complaints in two police departments.
  • Maricopa County, Arizona: The sheriff’s office settled the discrimination and racial profiling lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • Austin, Texas: An officer was fired for failing to report injuries on a call. This is his second termination from the department. He was fired previously for failing to report, but was reinstated by a labor arbitrator.
  • Update: Maypearl, Texas: The chief was terminated and charged with sex crimes against a minor.
  • Pocatello, Idaho: An officer was charged with assault.
  • Weston, West Virginia: An officer was placed on leave after a man died from injuries sustained during an arrest. State authorities declined to launch an independent investigation so it was referred to the
  • Update: Houston, Texas: A now-former officer pled guilty to aiding and abetting drug distribution. She faces 40 years in prison. She is scheduled to be sentenced in October.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-22-15

Here are the eight reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, July 22, 2015:

  • Bibb County, Georgia: A deputy was arrested on dog fighting charges.
  • Dallas, Texas: An officer was fired after his arrest for sexual assault of a child.
  • Summerville, South Carolina: An officer was arrested for assault and battery of a woman.
  • Anderson, Indiana: An officer was arrested for OWI in Noblesville.
  • Update: Sacramento, California: A now-former officer was convicted for repeatedly raping an elderly woman in a senior living facility.
  • San Francisco, California: A now-former was officer convicted of bribery. He accepted roughly $25,000 in bribes over a two-year period.
  • New York, New York: Two officers were shown on security footage beating a man who had his hands up.
  • Habersham County, Georgia: A now-former deputy was indicted for lying on an affidavit and search warrant. The subsequent SWAT raid seriously injured a toddler when a flash-bang grenade was thrown into the child’s crib.

The Sandra Bland Case

From NBC News:

Last week, Sandra Bland was found dead from apparent “self-inflicted asphyxiation” in her cell in a Texas jail, three days after her arrest following a routine traffic stop.

Her puzzling death — she had just gotten a new job that she was excited about, her family said — has become the latest flashpoint in a national discussion about law enforcement in America. State and federal authorities are investigating, while Bland’s family and supporters say they don’t believe she killed herself and don’t trust the official version of events….

Waller County authorities have asked the Texas Rangers and the FBI to investigate Bland’s death, which was ruled a suicide by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences in Houston. Bland’s family has asked for an independent autopsy.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-21-15

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, July 21, 2015:

  • Greenville, North Carolina: An officer was arrested for assaulting a woman. The report noted that the woman had visible injuries.
  • Austin, Texas: An officer was suspended after his fifth automobile crash on duty in one year. After this latest incident, he failed to properly report the accident and left the scene.
  • Update: San Mateo County, California (First reported 01-06-14): A now-former deputy will be retried for assault because new evidence may support his self-defense claim made during his trial. He was convicted of assaulting his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend. The ex-girlfriend has since testified that the boyfriend had assaulted her before the former deputy was involved.
  • Update: Charlotte-Mecklenberg, North Carolina (First reported 04-28-15): An officer’s trial for the voluntary manslaughter of Jonathan Ferrell is underway. Ferrell had been in an auto accident and was seeking help when the officer shot him. The officer claimed he mistook him for a burglar.
  • Mission, Texas: An officer was charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
  • Essex County, New Jersey: An officer was charged for tipping-off dealers in a sprawling heroin conspiracy.
  • Franklin, Alabama: The police chief was arrested for selling a firearm and ammunition to an undocumented immigrant.
  • Marshall County, Mississippi: A constable was arrested for He had previously been accused of DUI.
  • Update: Waller County, Texas: The death of Sandra Bland is being investigated by state and local authorities. Those investigations are being overseen by FBI. The arresting officer has been placed on leave. Video of her arrest has been released. Irregularities in the video have prompted deep skepticism.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-18-15 to 07-20-15

Here are the eight reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, July 18 through Monday, July 20, 2015:

  • New York, New York: Nineteen officers in a Bronx precinct face administrative charges that they downgraded criminal charges in 55 cases over four months.
  • Apopka, Florida: An officer resigned during an investigation into his alleged illegal solicitation of prescription pills.
  • Memphis, Tennessee: An officer has been placed on leave during the investigation into his fatal shooting of nineteen-year-old Darrius Stewart while in custody. Stewart’s family claims that he had been taken into custody improperly because of mistaken identity.
  • Update: South Congaree, South Carolina (First reported 06-18-14): The now-former police chief was sentenced to four years’ probation for federal perjury after accepting a plea bargain. He still faces state charges for misconduct.
  • Buffalo, New York: An officer was suspended without pay after a five-year-old video surfaced of him striking a handcuffed suspect.
  • Put-in-Bay, Ohio: A now-former officer was indicted on 15 counts of misconduct while he was employed there. The same day, he was fired from Volusia County, Florida sheriff’s office. Ohio authorities expect him to turn himself in but have been unable to contact him directly.
  • Update: King City, California (First reported 02-27-14): The now-former chief faces trial for perjury and embezzlement. Three now-former officers have already pled guilty to various charges involving the scandal-plagued department.
  • Chandler, Arizona: An officer illegally entered a home and handcuffed a woman who was wearing only a towel. Charges will not be filed, but the woman intends to file a lawsuit against the City.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-17-15

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, July 17, 2015:

  • Spokane, Washington: An officer was arrested for first-degree burglary-domestic violence for kicking down a woman’s door while armed.
  • Lafayette Parish, Louisiana: A deputy was arrested for bringing contraband into the jail for inmates.
  • Baltimore, Maryland: The City agreed to settle a lawsuit for $65,000. The suit alleged a young man was cuffed and beaten by an officer.
  • New York, New York: An officer was indicted by a federal grand jury for drug trafficking in Vermont.
  • Update: Stonewall, Mississippi (First reported 07-10-15): The death of Jonathan Sanders was ruled provisionally as a homicide by manual asphyxiation.
  • Update: St. Louis, Missouri (First reported 03-17-15): A now-former officer was sentenced to two years in prison for providing a shotgun to known drug dealers.
  • Update: Dothan, Alabama (First reported 03-04-15): An officer’s charges were updated. He is now charged with 20 counts of identity theft of military service members.
  • Hill County, Texas: A now-former deputy pled guilty to stealing $560 from evidence and deleting the record of the evidence to hide the theft. He was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.
  • Dade County, Georgia: A sheriff was indicted on 18 criminal counts for using a county credit card for $6,300 in personal purchases and payments.

Points for “Some” Honesty

Countless reports on this website include stories of police officers refusing to enforce the law against family or colleagues when they have committed a crime. Sometimes the offense is a DUI, other times it is drug dealing. Covering up a crime is not only a rules violation but sometimes a crime in itself. Either way, it is police misconduct. Except, apparently, in Methuen, Massachusetts.

The Boston Globe reports that applicants to the Methuen police department were awarded points for saying they would not arrest a family member or fellow officer for DUI. When called to testify about the practice, the officers responsible for reviewing the applications were surprisingly forthcoming.  According to the Globe:

“I’m looking for some bearing, some honesty, and how quickly the person can think on their feet,” Police Lieutenant Michael Pappalardo testified.

But Pappalardo also said he wouldn’t believe anyone who claimed they would arrest their family and friends. And when candidates said they wouldn’t arrest family or fellow officers, the hiring panel noted the person “knows discretion.”

While police officers are granted considerable discretion in how strictly to enforce the laws–such as issuing a verbal warning for speeding instead of issuing a ticket or putting someone in a cab who is drunk instead of booking them for public intoxication–favoritism is an ethical breach of that discretion. Such “professional courtesy” effectively insulates police officers and their families from the law. Put another way, favoritism places them above the law.

Unfortunately, the practice is quite common. The Globe story recounts the findings of a 2008 Civil Service Commission report:

“Every police officer who testified before the commission testified that the routine and customary practice when a stop is made on a fellow police officer, is to show professional courtesy and not call in the stop,” the report said.

Police officers should have more than “some” honesty to maintain the public trust. Read the whole thing here.


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-16-15

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, July 16, 2015:

  • Greenville, Mississippi: An officer was arrested for being an accessory after the fact to a fatal shooting. He allegedly provided a get-away vehicle for the assailant.
  • San Diego County, California: The County will pay $1,000,000 to the family of a man with Down syndrome who was assaulted by a deputy on duty.
  • Burlington, Vermont: An officer was arrested for DUI after a two-car collision that resulted in injuries.
  • Aurora, Colorado: An officer faces grand jury proceedings for the fatal shooting of Naeschylus Vinzant, an unarmed man.
  • Waller County, Texas: The jail is under Texas Ranger investigation after a woman died in custody. Video of her arrest was released.
  • Maypearl, Texas: The police chief is under investigation for solicitation of a minor. He allegedly sent lurid texts to a 16-year-old girl.
  • Update: Eagle County, Colorado (First reported 10-08-14): A deputy pled guilty to third-degree assault and second-degree criminal trespass for sexually assaulting a female motorist in an abandoned warehouse. He will have to register as a sex offender.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: An officer was suspended for lying about how he was injured in an off-duty shooting. He allegedly conspired with his former brother-in-law to say his current wife shot him.
  • Update: Hudson Falls, New York (First reported 03-12-15): A deputy who was charged with larceny for stealing from police union coffers has resigned.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-15-15

Here are the eight reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, July 15, 2015:

  • Cleveland (Ohio) Housing Authority: An officer was arrested for stalking and burglary.
  • Barrackville, West Virginia: An officer was arrested for DUI.
  • Gardena, California: The City settled a wrongful death suit for $4,700,000 in the shooting death of Ricardo Diaz Zeferino, who was unarmed.  Against the wishes of the police department, a federal judge ordered the release of the video footage of the shooting.
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: An officer was arrested for domestic violence involving his firearm.
  • Huntsville, Alabama: An officer was arrested for a domestic violence incident with his wife.
  • Hatch, New Mexico: An officer was arrested for battery and false imprisonment. The investigation is ongoing.
  • Altoona, Pennsylvania: A now-former officer who was fired for after an allegation of excessive force will face charges of suppression and battery for the incident.
  • Columbia County, New York: A now-former deputy pled guilty for secretly taking photos of a nude woman and putting the images on the Internet.

WSJ: Police Misconduct Costs Soar

From the Wall Street Journal:

The cost of resolving police-misconduct cases has surged for big U.S. cities in recent years, even before the current wave of scrutiny faced by law-enforcement over tactics.

The 10 cities with the largest police departments paid out $248.7 million last year in settlements and court judgments in police-misconduct cases, up 48% from $168.3 million in 2010, according to data gathered by The Wall Street Journal through public-records requests.

Those cities collectively paid out $1.02 billion over those five years in such cases, which include alleged beatings, shootings and wrongful imprisonment. When claims related to car collisions, property damage and other police incidents are included, the total rose to more than $1.4 billion.

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