There have been a lot of new readers in the last few days, so I thought maybe it was time to explain what the NPMSRP is… (beyond the fact that we’re entirely dependent on reader donations to continue doing what we do)… and why we go through the trouble of aggregating so many reports of police misconduct each day.
As some of you already know, this site is part of a project devoted to determining the extent of police misconduct in the United States by performing statistical analysis on media reports about police misconduct. This project also includes a National Police Misconduct News Feed that we use to record the police misconduct reports we track each day, which are also added to a database that we use to perform our statistical analysis with.
This is the essence of the “National Police Misconduct Statistical and Reporting Project“, or NPMSRP for short. Using media reports to determine just how prevalent police misconduct might be in the US since a vast majority of law enforcement agencies don’t make that information public and the US government doesn’t track this data… Actually, nobody else does except for us as far as we can tell.
So, an interesting story got added to our news feed today concerning Jefferson Parish Louisiana reserve deputy Steven Seagal… yes, the same Steven Seagal of motion picture fame and who stars in one of the many cop-umentaries on TV that glorify civil rights abuses aggressive police and the abuse of tasers use of tasers. That report is as seen below:
However, after thinking about this case, where a woman is accusing the actor/deputy of transporting her and other women to a home in Louisiana in order to sexually assault them in a strange form of sex trafficking under false pretenses of hiring them to be his assistants, the story seemed a bit suspect. Why? Because she went straight to filing a civil suit instead of criminal charges. Also, because as of the time I’m writing this, no real media outlet has picked this up, so far only the gossip sites are talking about it. So I did something I rarely do, I put up a disclaimer stating that the story seemed suspect:
Now, here’s the first lesson about the NPMSRP news feed… I rarely use the news feed for anything but the news reports that we track. I don’t use it to respond to people who reply to the stories we track even… why? Because the news feed is used to populate the database as efficiently as possible and if I put a bunch of extraneous data in there then that’s more work for me on the back end to clear out the clutter before I insert those reports into the database.
The second lesson is that I do filter some reports out of the news feed if they appear to be too suspect on the face of it. For example, if a report that someone is suing a police department for shooting him in an incident where several independent witnesses say that the complainant was running at the cops with a knife then that report isn’t going in the feed unless it ends in a finding against the police. The soundness of our statistics depends on the soundness of the data we base those numbers on and I will not endanger the reputation of the stats by putting questionable reports in the feed.
Anyway, a long-time
critic of devil’s advocate for the NPMSRP replied to my disclaimer and agreed that the story seemed suspect, but for different reasons than I did:
The third teachable moment that this offers about the NPMSRP News Feed that we can learn from here is what qualifies as a “police officer” for the purposes of defining “police misconduct” in the parlance of the NPMSRP. To the NPMSRP, a police officer is any sworn or certified law enforcement officer who has arrest powers. In general this includes almost all full time municipal police officers, county sheriff’s office deputies, and federal government law enforcement agents. However, this can also include some university campus police officers or even some public school district police officers who, through special agreements with the state within which they reside, are also sworn officers as well as some areas that grant park police arrest authority and other unique additions to the norm.
In regards to Steven Seagal and Lawscribe’s assertion that reserve deputy Seagal has nothing to do with law enforcement, in Louisiana reserve deputies are afforded with all the authority of full time deputies to act independently to affect arrests and carry an official departmentally-issued firearm. The only difference in Louisiana between a full time sheriff’s deputy and a reserve deputy is that the reserve deputy is an unpaid volunteer.
So, for the NPMSRP, a reserve deputy in Louisiana qualifies as a law enforcement officer for purposes of qualifying an incident involving said officer as a reported instance of police misconduct.
The last lesson to learn here is what we qualify as police misconduct. Specifically we count any activity that is either criminal in nature, against internal departmental policies, or a violation of constitutionally provided civil rights that occurs while a police officer is still employed as a police officer whether that activity is on-duty or off-duty. Why off-duty too? First of all, universally in the United States, police officers retain their governmentally-granted police powers even when they are off-duty, for example, it’s still considered assault on an officer if you punch a cop while he or she is off-duty, so there is, in actuality, no such thing as off-duty.
Second of all, what an officer does while off-duty is a reflection on the character of what the officer is like while on-duty. After all, would you want to have a person who engages in criminal activity while off the job to have the authority over you that allows him to take away your freedom while he’s on the job?
The only exception to this is that we only count what officers do while they are still officers, we do not count what former officers do after they are no longer police officers. After all, how can we hold a city responsible for the criminal acts of a cop that they already fired that occur after they fired him? Thus the additional blurb about the officer having to be employed as an officer at the time of the alleged incident for it to qualify as police misconduct.
So, for Steven Seagal, this allegation would qualify as an alleged instance of police misconduct since Mr. Seagal is a deputy with full authority to make arrests and allegedly participated in a criminal act while employed as said officer of the sheriff’s department of Jefferson Parish Louisiana.
So there you have it… Steven Seagal has helped me explain how the NPMSRP and the National Police Misconduct News Feed work.