National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

False Accusations, Innocent People, and Plea Bargains

From time to time, you will find some posts here that concern problems that are not directly related to police misconduct.  This report concerns a young man who was falsely accused of rape.  On the advice of counsel, the young man pled guilty and went to prison.  Luckily for him, he was able to expose his accuser’s lie on videotape.

There are many problems with plea bargaining — one is that it extorts guilty pleas from the innocent.  Another, not at issue in the above case,  is that police misconduct escapes scrutiny because it does not come to light since there is no trial.  More here.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 05-24-12

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, May 24, 2012:

  • One of the Fullerton, California police officers charged in the death of homeless man, Kelly Thomas, has been fired.  The officer allegedly punched Thomas in the ribs and tackled him to the ground while the other officer tasered him multiple times http://bit.ly/L8Db6v  Previous coverage here
  • A Philadelphia police officer is charged with assault after using a stun gun on an underage suspect.  The officer allegedly used the stun gun on the handcuffed teen who was already in custody and handcuffed inside a holding cell.  He then laughed about the encounter with a fellow officer http://bit.ly/JH6b0D
  • Two  San Bernardino, California off-duty sheriffs deputies, in separate vehicles, drive drunk, crash, and cause injuries. One was in court today and was sentenced to 180 days in jail http://bit.ly/KwNO0u
  • A Pennsylvania State Trooper involved in a fatal crash is suspected of a DUI. The state trooper allegedly failed a sobriety test after the accident  http://bit.ly/JRqSeA
  • A New Orleans police sergeant kept quiet about a post-Katrina shooting.  The officer, who is married to a police lieutenant, was promoted shortly after the shooting to the Public Integrity Bureau, which investigates police misconduct http://bit.ly/LkJCCY
  •  A Philadelphia officer was charged with stealing from a toy store. The officer was arrested for allegedly engaging in an ongoing conspiracy to steal from a local toy store http://bit.ly/MKIzhP
  • Tucson, Arizona officer is facing termination over a DUI. The officer was arrested for drunken driving while on duty  http://bit.ly/KyVLQB
  • A Pennsylvania police officer was charged with trespassing and criminal mischief after allegedly breaking into his neighbor’s house to do laundry http://bit.ly/Lj6YG9

Secret Service Chief Sees No ‘Systemic’ Problems

Yesterday, Mark Sullivan, director of the Secret Service appeared before the Senate Homeland Security Committee.  It was his first appearance before Congress since the prostitution scandal came to light in April.

Excerpt from today’s New York Times:

Mr. Sullivan’s appearance only heightened the senators’ discomfort with the Cartagena episode and the director’s attitude toward it. Again and again, the lawmakers raised past episodes to suggest there was a pattern of sexual misconduct that had been ignored or even condoned by supervisors. Each time, Mr. Sullivan defended the Secret Service’s culture and integrity, even as he vowed to pursue the investigation in the case vigorously.

The senators did not call for Mr. Sullivan to step aside, but they did press Charles K. Edwards, the acting inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security, to pursue an independent investigation, and not just look over the shoulders of the Secret Service in its own inquiry.

“I think that the director’s a very fine individual who’s very proud of his own career — understandably so — and of the agency that he heads,” Ms. Collins said. “Therefore, I think he has a difficult time coming to grips with the fact that he has a broader problem than just this one incident.”

Joe Davidson of the Washington Post quotes Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.):

“It is hard for many people, including me, I will admit, to believe that on one night in April 2012 in Cartagena, Colombia, 12 Secret Service agents there to protect the president suddenly and spontaneously did something they or other agents had never done before, which is gone out in groups of two, three or four to four different nightclubs or strip clubs, drink to excess, and then bring foreign national women back to their hotel rooms.”

Director Sullivan said he had named a “professionalism reinforcement working group” to improve his agency.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 05-23-12

Here are the 6 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, May 23, 2012:

  • A Gary, Indiana officer loses his job after crashing his squad car last year.  The officer tested positive for alcohol and marijuana the night of the accident  http://bit.ly/KfO1WS
  • A Las Vegas police officer has been arrested on a charge of lewdness with a minor under the age of 14.  He has been relieved of duty without pay pending both internal and criminal investigations http://bit.ly/MFwOcl
  • Fitchburg, Massachusetts officer was fired for his friendship with a suspected drug dealer. At the hearing, the officer received charges of untruthfulness, improper associations, and conduct unbecoming an officer.  A police union representative plans to appeal http://bit.ly/LotP2r
  • A Denver cop driving impaired at 143 mph could keep his job.  A Civil Service Commission panel has issued the officer a 42 day suspension http://bit.ly/L8Db6v
  • Former East Chicago police officer has been indicted in federal court with charging a housing complex for work he supposedly did as a security officer when he was actually on duty as a police officer http://bit.ly/KgSAA5 
  • Lewiston, Idaho officer faces a decertification hearing for alleged off-duty misconduct.  In cases where an officer is charged with misconduct that calls for decertification, the officer normally chooses to pursue another career http://bit.ly/JmasbE 

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 05-22-12

Here are the 6 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, May 22, 2012:

  • A Prince George’s County, Maryland police officer has been charged with DUI after he crashed his patrol car. Officer Daniel Gonzalez was off-duty when the crash occurred http://bit.ly/Kx2FIh
  • A Connecticut police officer is on trial for manslaughter for killing a teenager. Authorities say Michael Koistinen had been drinking and speeding when he struck Henry Dang. Koistinen was fired from the force and his father, Police Sgt. Robert Koistinen awaits trial for hindering the investigation http://bit.ly/KQZdI5
  • East Ridge, Tennessee officer Sean Merriman pleaded guilty today to leaving the scene of an accident. Merriman wrecked his Jeep Cherokee, but his blood was not drawn to determine if he was over the legal limit. Merriman is on paid leave and the incident will be expunged from his record in 30 days http://bit.ly/KIz3uU
  • Porter County, Indiana officer Ryan Fenters pleaded guilty to OWI on Election Night 2010 – after celebrating the election of Sheriff Dave Lain. Fenters was also charged with leaving the scene of an accident, but that charge was dismissed under an agreement with prosecutors http://bit.ly/JO675F
  • A former Jersey City man who accused an officer of excessive force in 2005 will receive a $185,000 settlement approved by the city council. Samy Gattas said Officer Michael Gonzalez shoved him into a police car after Gattas questioned the officer’s demands. Gattas was initially charged with disorderly conduct, but that was dropped by prosecutors http://bit.ly/Ke9BMa
  • Canton, Ohio cop fired for a pattern of verbal abuse and threats is seeking reinstatement through arbitration proceedings http://bit.ly/Ht9wm2

Police Chiefs Unable to Discipline Bad Cops

Sunday’s Wall Street Journal reported that Thomas Dale, the Police Commissioner of New York’s Nassau County is asking the legislature for the power to fire his own officers (subscription only), a prerogative that few New York police officials have.

Excerpt:

The legislation comes after months of embarrassing news for the 2,400-member Long Island police department.

A former officer is being investigated over allegations he met with a mistress dozens of times while on duty before resigning in April. Just weeks earlier, in March, the Nassau County district attorney’s office charged three former high-ranking police officials with helping to cover up a theft allegedly committed by the son of a major benefactor. The officials have pleaded not guilty.

Before Mr. Dale took office, County Executive Ed Mangano closed the crime lab last year after faulty procedures came to light. Before that, more than a dozen officers were disciplined after an internal investigation found they failed to investigate claims of domestic abuse by a 24-year-old woman who was later killed by her ex-boyfriend.

Dale wants to fire seven officers on his force, but under the present union contract, officers can call in outside arbitrators in disciplinary matters. The union has vowed to challenge the reform legislation after its likely passage.

Welcome to PoliceMisconduct.net

Welcome to policemisconduct.net! My name is Tim Lynch and I work on criminal justice issues here at Cato.

This site is one component of our new National Police Misconduct Reporting Project (NPMRP). The purpose of the project is to gather news reports about police misconduct in America in a fair and unbiased way. Our objective is to study the scope of the problem and to identify policies that can minimize misconduct.

We welcome feedback from readers — so if you think we have made an error, let us know. And if you have seen a credible news story about police misconduct that we have not already reported, we would like to hear from you — please use this form for that purpose.

This project is a work-in-progress. As time goes by, we will expand our reporting capacity and make other improvements. One easy way that you can help this project is by spreading the word about this new site in the coming weeks and months. Thanks for visiting!

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 04-11-12

Here are the 15 reports of police misconduct tracked in our National Police Misonduct News Feed for this Wednesday, April 11, 2012:

  • Jonesville MI police chief accused of hitting cuffed autistic 8yr-old who left school with a baton in the back of a police car after he left school while it was in session. [2] http://bit.ly/Hsyell
  • Louisville KY cop w/history investigated after caught on cellphone camera slapping a cuffed teen during arrest [1] http://bit.ly/HwAmHt
  • 7 Clarkstown NY cops subject of suit by man claiming they beat him on video during a false arrest at a bar [3] http://lohud.us/HwzzpY
  • UC Davis CA report faults dysfunctional dept in pepperspray case where now-infamous Lt Pike used an unauthorized large type of pepperspray canister unnecessarily [0] http://bit.ly/HCnraL
  • New Orleans LA cop sentenced to 20mo prison for lying about Katrina shooting death at Convention Center [0] http://bit.ly/HwAwP9
  • Suffolk Co NY police sued by videographer arrested after NYPD sgt ordered him to stop filming an arrest [3] http://bit.ly/HCnMKl
  • Bakersfield CA police dog attacked and injured the Kern Co CA sheriff’s ex-wife while police served a drug warrant on sheriff’s son and released their dog when they thought nobody was home. [0] http://bit.ly/IUdelT
  • Toronto ON cop faulted by court for routinely arresting people before investigating to see what he could charge them with [3] http://bit.ly/HCosj2
  • Cincinnati OH cop indicted on bribery, theft & record tampering over illegal immigrant extortion allegations [1] http://bit.ly/HCo0Bp
  • Skiatook OK cop charged with perjury, resigned in January in investigation involving car chase [1] http://bit.ly/IUcygc
  • Spokane WA cop under investigation after 8yr-old daughter shot herself in the leg with his duty weapon [1] http://bit.ly/IUceyc
  • Seattle WA police policy keeping dashcam videos secret until they are destroyed criticized, but found legal by judge who fined the dept $2,300 for delaying the release of dashcam logs after a public records request. [5] http://bit.ly/IhYgI0
  • Fruitland Park FL cop resigns, other faces discipline for allegedly bribing informant to lie in drug case [0] http://bit.ly/HwzNNG
  • Pittsburgh PA police sued by road rage cop victim claiming dept failed to discipline him after prior outbursts [3] http://bit.ly/HwznXD
  • Carbon Co UT sheriff’s capt resigns after charged with vandalizing 3 vehicles, including 2 gov cars, at auto shop [0] http://bit.ly/IUed5A

That’s it for today, stay safe out there.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 04-10-12

Here are the 13 reports of police misconduct tracked in our National Police Misconduct News Feed for this Tuesday, April 10, 2012

  • Washington DC police sued by mom of teen fataly shot in back, cops say he had BB gun, witnesses contradict [3] http://bit.ly/Ipxihs
  • Chicago IL & 4 cops lose $1.15mil in suit by family of trucker who died from crash injuries the family claims were ignored while he was detained by cops for too long. [0] http://trib.in/IA0ZeT
  • St Louis MO settles suit for unspecified sum to man shot by drunk off duty cop while trying to stop bar brawl [2] http://bit.ly/I1HTA7
  • Kansas City MO settles suit for $1mil to truck driver shot by cop walking out of donut shop during diabetic episode [0] http://bit.ly/IiTM8k
  • Albermarle Co VA deputy gets no jail in plea deal to assault charge after accused of raping incapacitated relative [3] http://bit.ly/Iwd5tY
  • Corpus Christi TX cop arrested for allegedly coercing 15yr-old girl to engage in sex acts via internet [0] http://bit.ly/Hz2aAH
  • Boise ID cops fatally shoot dog neighbors call friendly after letting it out then blaming owner, who wasn’t home, for failing to control his dog. [4] http://bit.ly/HHYBW4
  • 3 Zion IL cops subject of suit for hitting pregnant woman & kids w/pepperspray during man’s false arrest at BBQ [3] http://bit.ly/IiUemU
  • Bergen Co NJ sued by internal affairs sgt claiming he was demoted & retaliated against for reporting misconduct [5] http://bit.ly/IiUBhp
  • Carter Co MO deputy pleads guilty to possession of stolen firearms after sheriff pleads to similar charges [0] http://bit.ly/Ipx89J
  • Santa Fe NM cop caught masturbating on cruiser dashcam accused of harassing 18yr-old coffee shop employee [3] http://bit.ly/IpwSYe
  • US Border Patrol agent and his girlfriend charged w/conspiracy to buy firearms & ammo to smuggle into Mexico [0] http://bit.ly/IwckRH
  • Honolulu HI cop arrested on multiple drug charges for allegedly growing marijuana & possessing 1lb of marijuana [0] http://bit.ly/Hz2oHU

That’s it for today, stay safe out there!

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