National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 05-31-12

Here are the 7 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, May 31, 2012:

  • The Supreme Court has decided that it will not review the Seattle case where police used a Taser on a woman that was 7-months pregnant. The lower courts  did say that the officers used excessive force by using stun guns http://bit.ly/KE96uh
  • Former Franklin County, Virginia Sheriff Ewell Hunt has been charged with misconduct after an investigation into how he handled warnings that preceded a Memorial Day 2011 shooting. The charge against Hunt is a class 1 misdemeanor http://bit.ly/KKdaZZ
  • An ex-Arkansas officer who was accused of accepting bribes and looking the other way while drug traffickers shipped illegal drugs throughout the region has been sentenced to 2 years in prison http://bit.ly/M16S9i
  • Former Lincoln, RI police officer is fighting to get his job back after being terminated last week for assulting a woman. The officer was ordered to undergo counseling and given a 10 year suspended sentence http://bit.ly/M7LTEG
  • The court said Lowell, Massachusetts police should have conducted the strip search of Carlos Morales at the police station or another private location rather than expose him publicly http://bit.ly/La9LT8
  • A former Sacramento police officer accused of filing false reports and then lying about it has been ordered to stand trial. The officer has been charged on 23 counts of filing false police reports and 11 counts of perjury http://bit.ly/Kd95k5
  • 7 Milwaukee police officers and one supervisor have had their guns and badges taken away due to allegations that they conducted illegal cavity searches http://bit.ly/IB7sL3

Trouble in Seattle

From the Seattle Times:

An acting Seattle police captain who was recently given a key role in the city’s plan to fix problems in the Police Department was booked into jail early Sunday after being arrested in a domestic-violence incident.

Donnie R. Lowe, who holds the official rank of lieutenant, has been removed from his role in the reform effort, the department said in a statement Sunday evening.

Details of what led to Lowe’s arrest by South Precinct officers were not immediately available, said Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, the department’s chief spokesman….

Lowe has a checkered history with the department, including an arrest in 2008 on suspicion of driving while under the influence (DUI). He has received internal reprimands for inappropriate dealings with his son in a holding cell, and over his effort to retrieve nude photographs of a relative.

The DUI arrest attracted attention because Lowe was allowed to supervise a Seattle police security detail at President Obama’s inauguration in January 2009, even though the arrest had taken place Nov. 23, 2008.

Lowe had been stopped on Interstate 5 in South Seattle by a State Patrol trooper. A blood-alcohol test administered to Lowe about an hour after the stop registered 0.113, above the state’s legal limit of 0.08 percent for those over 21, according to a State Patrol report.

Lowe pleaded guilty to an amended charge of reckless driving in June 2009. That charge was dismissed in 2011 after he completed alcohol-information school, probation, community service and other terms.

It was not clear Sunday how the Police Department dealt internally with the case.

At the time of the DUI arrest, Lowe worked in the department’s Homeland Security Bureau, overseeing planning for special events and disaster management. He began working on the inauguration assignment before the incident and supervised a 42-member Seattle police detail that assisted in inaugural security.

Lowe, who was with a passenger, was stopped by a trooper about 1:45 a.m. after the trooper noticed his car drifting in the lanes, the State Patrol report said.

The trooper recognized an odor of alcohol in the car and saw a glass in the drink holder filled with a dark-colored liquid that smelled of alcohol, the report said. Lowe had bloodshot and watery eyes, the trooper wrote.

Officers Charged With Unlawful Weapons Sales

From Fox News:

Federal prosecutors announced charges Friday against two Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies accused of illegally selling dozens of weapons, some of which authorities say fell into the hands of criminals.

Deputies Ryan McGowan, 31, and Thomas Lu, 42, both of Elk Grove, face charges of trafficking in handguns that cannot be legally bought by citizens in California, including some exotic weapons such as high-powered rifles mounted on pistol frames.

Also charged were firearms dealer Robert Snellings, 61, of Rancho Murieta and Ulysses Simpson Grant Early IV, 36, of Sacramento, who is accused of buying guns. All four were indicted on Thursday and the charges were unsealed Friday.

U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagoner said the deputies were charged with serving as straw buyers by purchasing the restricted handguns. They then sold the handguns at a profit of thousands of dollars to unqualified buyers through licensed dealers, prosecutors said.

 

Stealing Is Contrary to Police Dept Policy

Report from CarolinaLive:

NewsChannel 15 has learned a former Marion city police officer has been indicted for misconduct in office.

Officials with the State Attorney General’s Office say Farmer Blue took money from a woman and used it for his personal use, which is against Marion Police Department policy.

The Attorney General’s office didn’t go into specifics as to what the money was for.

Blue is expected to be arraigned in August.

Police Chief Ousted

From the Auburn-Reporter:

Pacific Police Chief John Calkins has been officially terminated.

Mayor Cy Sun and the City Council dismissed the embattled Calkins during executive session at the council’s regularly scheduled meeting on May 14, according to City officials.

The City has released no official statement about the termination.

Sun named Sgt. Jim Pickett as the acting police chief.

When the Auburn Reporter asked Sun to comment on Calkins’ firing or expand on the decision, he replied in an email, “No! I don’t want to talk about it.”

Calkins had been on paid administrative leave for misconduct during to an argument following the Jan. 17 City Council meeting about the City’s back-order purchase of new police vehicles.

Pacific’s police chief is appointed and, according to the City’s municipal code, the mayor has the “power of appointment and removal of all appointive city officers and employees ….”

The code also states that “every appointment or removal must be made in writing, signed by the mayor and filed with the city clerk,” although as of May 30 nothing had been filed with the Pacific city clerk.

The termination marks the end of a controversial tenure for Calkins as chief.

In 2009, Calkins was the subject of an outside investigation by the Klickitat Count Sheriff’s Office, which looked into allegations of misconduct, including: intimidation with a weapon; criminal trespass and improper conduct; driving under the influence; and improper conduct and witness tampering.

In August of 2008, Calkins was pulled over and charged with a DUI in Bonney Lake. He refused to perform field sobriety tests or provide a blood sample for testing, according to police reports. The report by the arresting officer also stated that Calkins tried to intimidate him. A jury later acquitted Calkins, but the investigation by the Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office later found that Calkins actions during the stop “violated commonly accepted standards of conduct for law enforcement officers and chiefs of police.”

 

Despite the findings of the outside investigation, Calkins was not disciplined at the time.

Federal Judge Threatens Oakland Police Department Over Misconduct

From the Oakland Tribune:

A federal judge ordered a probe Thursday into how Oakland police investigate officer-involved shootings and threatened the department with sanctions if misconduct is uncovered.

U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson also ordered Oakland to provide by June 8 additional information showing how it will complete already past-due internal affairs investigations stemming from last year’s Occupy protests. He threatened to levy daily fines against the city if it again misses deadlines to complete the investigations.

Henderson oversees police reforms ordered as part of the 2003 settlement of the Riders police misconduct case. On Thursday, he again questioned whether police would ever be able to fully implement the reforms and warned that he was still considering proceedings to place the department under federal control.

Robert Warshaw, the federal monitor overseeing Oakland police, raised concerns to Henderson about how the department investigates officer-involved shootings, including the proceedings of the Executive Force Review Board and subsequent deliberations by the police chief and his supervisors.

“This is of utmost concern, as uses of force and the manner in which they are investigated are among the most serious issues in (the Riders) case,” Henderson wrote, “and officer-involved shootings, many of which result in death, are the most grave possible uses of force.”

Fort Lauderdale ‘Raiders’ Arrested

From Local10.com:

Three Fort Lauderdale police officers bonded out of jail Thursday night after they were arrested on charges of falsifying a police report and sworn testimony in connection with an officer-involved crash.

The Fort Lauderdale Police Department said that Sgt. Michael Florenco, Detective Matthew Moceri and Officer Geoffrey Shaffer surrendered Thursday at the Broward County Main Jail.

Their arrests stem from an investigation initiated after Kenneth Post filed a complaint following his Nov. 22, 2009, arrest.

According to the arrest warrants, the three officers responded to a report of the thefts of some liquor bottles that morning at the Hilton Hotel on Southeast 17th Street and saw Post, a suspect, trying to flee the scene. The officers followed him, and at some point, Post’s vehicle and an unmarked police vehicle driven by Florenco collided, police said.

Surveillance video shows Post stealing several liquor bottles from the hotel bar and three Fort Lauderdale officers arresting him.

Investigators said Moceri and Shaffer were also in the vehicle and helped Florenco arrest Post, who was charged with attempted homicide on a law enforcement officer, burglary, aggravated fleeing and eluding, resisting arrest with violence, aggravated assault and felony vandalism.

“The police say that he basically turned his car to intentionally try to kill them,” Local 10’s Bob Norman said to said Assistant Public Defender Kelly Murdock.

“And since Day 1, Kenneth has denied that that has ever happened. That’s something that the police said once he was beaten so bad. He was in the hospital. He suffered a broken nose because of this,” Murdock said. “They had beat him up and … they lied to cover themselves.”

The Public Corruption Task Force alleged in its investigation that physical evidence and at least one witness’ statement contradicted the officers’ reports, probable cause affidavits and sworn testimony. Crime scene photos did not show any damage to the front of Post’s white Cadillac nor to the side of the officer’s unmarked police car. Witnesses told investigators that what they saw was not what the officers said happened.

“This went from someone with an allegation of stealing liquor bottles to, ‘He’s out trying to kill police officers.’ And that never happened,” Murdock said.

All three officers face four counts of official misconduct and one count of conspiracy to commit official misconduct, both felonies, and four misdemeanor counts of falsifying records. Florenco and Moceri also face one charge of perjury in an official proceeding.

Breaking Bad

Former Secret Service agent is a candidate for the local sheriff position, but his candidacy has been put on hold because he has now been arrested for plotting to kidnap a judge:

Solicitor Chrissy Adams said evidence was captured on audio surveillance, and Bartee gave a person money to buy items needed for the kidnapping.

Bartee, who is a retired U.S. Secret Service agent, is one of four candidates for Oconee County sheriff. He is accused of trying to arrange to have retired circuit Judge James C. Williams Jr. kidnapped.

Bartee is accused of trying to arrange the kidnapping after Williams filed an action asking for a judgment on whether Bartee was qualified to run for sheriff. The action also asked for an injunction against creating ballots with Bartee listed as a candidate.

Williams’ filing claims that Bartee is ineligible to run for sheriff because he was never a certified law enforcement officer under state law.

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