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National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 04-19-13

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, April 19, 2013:

  • Rehoboth Beach, Delaware: A police officer, caught on video tasering a man, has been placed on administrative leave. An internal investigation is underway. The man in the video says he didn’t deserve the treatment he received from the three officers. ow.ly/keuWR
  • Tuscaloosa, Alabama: A former police sergeant pleaded guilty to a criminal civil rights charge for using his authority as a law enforcement officer to sexually assault a woman. “This former officer did the unimaginable when he used his police powers to sexually assault this victim,” said the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. ow.ly/kcOvl
  • Schenectady, New York: A police detective has been put on unpaid leave after being arrested for an alleged “road rage” incident. He has been charged with menacing and placed on unpaid leave from the department. ow.ly/kcOhN
  • Davie, Florida: A suspended officer is on trial. He has been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting his teenage step-daughter. He faces a maximum 30 years in prison if convicted of the charges. ow.ly/kcNFw
  • Update: Mobile, Alabama (First reported 12-14-12): A former police officer pleaded guilty to a federal drug charge, admitting that conspired with a narcotics dealer to sell marijuana. He resigned his position amid the drug investigation. ow.ly/kcNgI
  • Harford County, Maryland: A sheriff’s deputy was arrested and suspended without pay for allegedly giving a towing company privileged information about people whose cars were subject to being repossessed and then being paid for the information. “Police are empowered with specific tools and resources to do their job effectively. Misuse of those resources is not only unethical, it is illegal,” said the sheriff. ow.ly/kcMSg
  • Northampton County, Pennsylvania: A deputy sheriff was charged with illegally providing a confidential firearms permit application to a councilwoman. He faces a felony of illegally disseminating firearms information and a misdemeanor of obstructing the administration of law. ow.ly/kcMCq
  • San Luis Obispo, California: A narcotics officer is facing criminal allegations of perpetuating a scheme to acquire and sell drugs while on the local beat. He entered not guilty please to a felony charge of bribery and one felony charge of extortion. ow.ly/kcMft
  • Erie County, New York: A former sheriff’s deputy admitted she used pepper spray on a handcuffed inmate being escorted by two other deputies. She pleaded guilty to a charge of deprivation of rights under color of law. ow.ly/kcLT8

The Waco Incident – 20 Years Later

Since this web site is all about police misconduct, we cannot let the twentieth anniversary of the Waco incident pass without comment.

April 19, 1993 marks the worst police action in modern American history.   Here are the main things to know:

  •   76 people, including 27 children, died that day.  That loss of life is a sufficient explanation as to why this incident is important and worth remembering.
  • The federal police operation did not involve a handful of “rogue” agents.  The incident is disturbing because it supposedly involved the best units of the ATF and the FBI.  And much of the decision-making was done by the top people at headquarters facilities in Washington, DC.
  • Make no mistake, crimes were committed by federal agents at Waco.  And those crimes were covered-up.
  • If the feds can successfully cover-up the worst police action in modern American history–an event that was highly publicized and that eventually brought extensive congressional hearings and the appointment of a special prosecutor– it is frightening to consider what police agencies would be able to get away in instances where there is no media scrutiny or legislative oversight.

For those interested in the details, read this paper that we published in 2001 (I also recommend the documentary film, Waco: The Rules of Engagement, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1997).  For today, let me just highlight some facts for all the people who do not have the time or inclination to study the details.

  • When the Branch Davidian residence burned to the ground and it became apparent that the FBI tank assault on April 19 backfired–resulting in almost everyone losing their lives, Attorney General Janet Reno told the media that the reason she ordered the assault was because “babies were being beaten” —  so the feds had no choice–they just had to move in.  About a week later, Reno testified before Congress.  Under oath, she admitted she had no evidence that babies were being beaten!  What!?
  • The FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team kept saying they were there to save lives and that they were especially concerned about the safety of the children in the residence.   But their tanks drove into the side of buildings even as the agents admitted they did not know the whereabouts of the children.
  • Some of the Branch Davidians survived the inferno of April 19.  They were arrested and charged with “murdering ATF agents.”  In a stinging rebuke to the federal prosectors, the jury acquitted the Davidians of those very serious charges.
  • One of the primary reasons the cover-up was successful was that government officials kept deflecting attention away from their actions to the Branch Davidian leader, David Koresh.  And, later, the feds would deflect attention by pointing out the crimes of the Oklahoma City bombers.   The feds seemed to taunt everyone with the question, “Who are you going to side with? Koresh?  McVeigh and Nicols?”  That was always a false choice.  One can, for example, condemn excessive force against a shoplifter without “siding with” shoplifting.
  • There are, to be sure, some wild conspiracy theories out there about the feds and Waco.  But the existence of a conspiracy theorist(s) does not make all government conduct lawful and ethical, at least in logic.

What’s the takeaway from all this?  First, recognize that this awful incident really did happen.  Crimes were committed and then the government tried to deceive everyone about what actually happened there.  Second, when it comes to government power, especially police power and the use of deadly force, be impartial, ask questions, and follow the evidence.  We must remember that, in a free society, police agents may not use the “color of their office” to commit crimes.

Update:  Podcast interview here.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 04-18-13

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, April 18, 2013:

  • Dallas, Texas: A police officer has been suspended with pay after she was arrested for drunk driving. She is now on administrative leave. ow.ly/kcE2S
  • Eureka, California: A police sergeant was arrested following allegations of excessive force by a fellow officer and accusations he filed a false police report. “We will not tolerate misconduct by any of our officers, and I firmly believe and stand behind that Police Officer’s Code of Ethics, that each of our officers are expected to conduct themselves under that code,” said the police chief. ow.ly/kcswp
  • Martinsburg, West Virginia: The former sheriff will face a sentencing hearing. He has pleaded guilty to charges of using excessive force under color of law for the beating of a since-convicted bank robber. The man suffered a broken nose, a broken jaw, a broken eye socket, and other injuries. ow.ly/kcegQ
  • Edwardsville, Illinois: The police chief pleaded guilty to federal charges and admitted stealing roughly $138,000 from the city. He took cash and money orders from a department lock box that contained vehicle impound fees. “I am disgusted and saddened when called upon to prosecute someone who had sworn to uphold the law,” said a U.S. attorney. ow.ly/kccVV
  • Dekalb County, Georgia: A police officer who was waiting in the drive-thru line at a McDonald’s is accused of pulling a gun on the customer ahead of him because the officer was angry at having to wait for his food. “I’m just not going to stand for any behavior that goes outside that scope of the law,” the chief said. An investigation is underway. ow.ly/kc2Ue
  • Denver, Colorado: An officer has resigned. He has been accused of working another job while simultaneously collecting workers compensation payments. ow.ly/kbDKi
  • Charleston, South Carolina: A former police trooper pleaded guilty in federal court to using excessive force when he repeatedly kicked an arrested man in the head and neck following a high speed chase. ow.ly/kaNRa
  • New Orleans, Louisiana: An officer was arrested and booked with forcible rape of a 15 year-old girl. He was also booked on charges of sexual battery, and was immediately put on emergency suspension without pay following his arrest. The officer was given a $50,000 bond during a hearing. If he makes bond he must also wear a monitoring device and avoid contact with the victim. ow.ly/kbVb7

Upset by a Long Wait, Cop Pulls Gun on McDonald’s Customer

From 11alive.com:

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — A police officer who was waiting in the drive-thru line at a McDonald’s restaurant in Forsyth County is accused of pulling a gun on the customer ahead of him because the officer was angry at having to wait for his food.

The off-duty officer is Detective Sgt. Scott Biumi, 48, of the DeKalb County Police Department. Biumi is charged with felony aggravated assault on the customer.  11Alive News was not able to reach him for comment Wednesday night.

“He put his hand right here,” said the customer, 18 year old Ryan Mash, pointing to his upper chest and shoulder area, “then he pulled the gun and put it, pointed it at, like, my neck area.”

There’s a security camera video at the link above.  The report says the officer is on leave with pay pending the outcome of the criminal case.  Question: When are officers accused of crimes suspended without pay?

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 04-17-13

Here are the 7 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, April 17, 2013:

  • Newark, New Jersey: A 17-year veteran was indicted this morning on charges he set his SUV on fire and then filed a fraudulent insurance claim. If convicted of the charges, he faces up to 10 years in prison on each charge. ow.ly/kaeSQ
  • Asheville, North Carolina: The police department is investigating several of its officers after cell phone video surfaced of a suspect allegedly being tased while in handcuffs. ow.ly/ka62A
  • Bedford, Massachusetts: A high-ranking police official and a librarian were charged in a plot to kidnap, torture, and kill women and children, federal prosecutors say. According to the criminal complaint, the men allegedly discussed the plot with the cooperating witness to help him commit these crimes against his wife and some of her relatives. ow.ly/k9xpg
  • Price, Utah: A police officer has been sentenced to jail for defrauding his car insurance company. In addition to jail, he gets three years’ probation and must pay $22,000 in restitution. He pleaded guilty in the case. ow.ly/k9uWr
  • Update: Anne Arundel County, Maryland (First reported 03-22-13): Police said that no criminal charges will be filed against an officer who placed a camera in a boys’ restroom at a high school. The officer involved in the incident remains on administrative leave. ow.ly/k9uzD
  • Riverside County, California: An off-duty sheriff’s deputy suspected of threatening two highway patrol officers as they were detaining him on suspicion of drunken driving and then damaging their patrol car is on paid administrative leave from his job. ow.ly/k9rQR
  • San Diego County, California: The County and a detective might be liable for using excessive force and conspiring against a deputy’s ex-girlfriend with a “SWAT-like” raid of her home. On the claim, the court said the force used was “clearly intimidating.” It concluded that the girlfriend is entitled to a trial to prove her claim that the “raid” tactics were used to gain the upper hand in custody mediation. ow.ly/k9fzV

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 04-16-13

Here are the 12 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, April 16, 2013:

  • Secane, Pennsylvania: A man has filed assault and civil rights claims in federal court against a police officer, alleging he was brutally beaten during a traffic stop and required two rounds of hospitalization. ow.ly/k7EE6
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico: A man filed suit after two officers entered his home without a warrant, claiming it was an emergency because they had seen vomit outside the house. A judge threw out the charges and agreed with the man that the police department had no right to go into the home without permission or a warrant. “It’s our understanding that the court dismissed the case because she felt the search was illegal under the United States constitution,” said the District Attorney. ow.ly/k7DLW
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota: The city agreed to settle a lawsuit involving the police shooting of two dogs for $225,000. SWAT members executed a search warrant on a home, looking for a weapon. They shot the homeowner’s two dogs. The lawsuit says that the 3-year-old daughter was sitting feet away from the dogs when they were shot. The weapon was never found and no arrests were made. ow.ly/k7CUs
  • Streetsboro, Ohio: A police officer was arrested for felony theft. Detectives say they determined that he was involved in the theft of $16,480.59 from Lowe’s. ow.ly/k7CDc
  • Des Plaines, Illinois: Thirteen police officers were suspended after allegations surfaced that they intentionally misrepresented their work hours to receive overtime from federal grant funding. Suspensions will range from 7 to 60 days, and some officers will be ordered to make restitution ranging from $184 to $787. ow.ly/k7yIr
  • Escambia County, Florida: A woman who was shot five times by deputies is now suing the sheriff and four deputies. She was taken hostage in her home by a former boyfriend, and was being used by him as a shield when deputies opened fire. The shooting was ruled as justified by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorney. ow.ly/k7vt1
  • Denver, Colorado: Another police officer is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a domestic-violence victim has resigned. The 14-year-veteran skirted potential discipline by resigning. ow.ly/k7f9V
  • Merryville, Louisiana: The police chief pleaded guilty to abusing his office by falsifying arrest documents after going to Texas to find drugs on a woman whom he had released after a traffic stop. He was given a suspended three-year prison term, 60 days in jail, three years probation and $1,500 in fines. ow.ly/k7e0n
  • Little Rock, Arkansas: A police officer has been fired after two internal investigations that the police chief says found the officer committed multiple violations, including misconduct. ow.ly/k76Wt
  • Update: Atlanta, Georgia (First reported 02-28-13): A now-former state trooper accused in a crash that killed a woman has pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and reckless driving. Officials say he failed to use due regard when traveling through an intersection before the accident. ow.ly/k73lA
  • Whitley County, Indiana: A detective was arrested for drunk driving after someone called 911 to report they saw a man stumble to his truck. He faces a charge of operating while intoxicated. ow.ly/k6YQm
  • Update: Murray County, Tennessee (First reported 03-28-13): A second former officer has pleaded guilty to obstructing a civil rights investigation connected to a former judge. He was fired for lying during the investigation and now awaits sentencing. ow.ly/k5wJx

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 04-13-13 to 04-15-13

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, April 13, to Monday, April 15, 2013:

  • Update: Corona, California (First reported 01-11-13): A police officer who did not disclose allegations that a 13-year-old boy was possibly being abused by the pastor and other members of her church was sentenced today to three years probation and 250 hours of community service. The 23-year veteran was dismissed from the police department within days of her conviction. ow.ly/k5uIS
  • Brooklyn, New York: An off-duty police officer shot to death her 1-year-old son and her boyfriend, who is believed to be the child’s father, before taking her own life. The officer’s 19-year-old son managed to escape and find police; he was not injured. ow.ly/k5riW
  • Update: Irvington, New Jersey (First reported 02-12-13): A now-former police officer has been sentenced to seven years in prison after being convicted for his role in the kidnapping and assault of a 17-year-old girl. ow.ly/k5u9U
  • Los Angeles, California: A sheriff’s deputy has been charged with beating a 19-year-old inmate in the back seat of a patrol car. Another deputy and a female inmate were also in the vehicle, and the woman later complained of the assault. The deputy has been relieved of duty with pay. If convicted he faces three years in jail. ow.ly/k5h99
  • Sallisaw, Oklahoma: The police chief has been jailed for borrowing public money for his own use and is being held on a felony embezzlement complaint. He is still currently the police chief. ow.ly/k51y8
  • Update: Tempe, Arizona (First reported 09-01-12): A former police officer arrested for theft has pleaded guilty in the case. He was arrested after several items of police property went missing and money was taken from a lockbox. He resigned following the arrest. ow.ly/k5yGk
  • Key West, Florida: A one-armed woman has filed a federal lawsuit against a police officer and the city. The suit claims that excessive force was sued against her when she was arrested. The officer says that she kicked at his groin repeatedly when he went to handcuff her, and she accuses him of slamming her into a patrol car for asking him a question. ow.ly/k4Xxl
  • Update: Minneapolis, Minnesota (First reported 07-18-12): A police SWAT team leader was convicted of assaulting a man while off-duty at a bar. The jury decided he was not acting in self defense when he punched a man and found him guilty of first-, third-, and fifth-degree assault. A seven-year sentence is recommended under Minnesota sentencing guidelines. ow.ly/k4CzZ
  • West Valley, Utah: Narcotics officers stole money and other items from vehicles they seized and may have taken drugs and money confiscated during arrests, an internal audit found. The findings will be shared with the FBI and the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office to be used in their respective investigations. ow.ly/k4BV7
  • Montgomery, Alabama: The police department has charged a police corporal with theft after a fellow officer observed him taking $20 in cash from the personal effects of a suicide victim whose property was being held by the department. ow.ly/k3ujL

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 04-12-13

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, April 12, 2013:

  • Danville, New Hampshire: The police chief has been charged with negligent storage of firearms relating to the death by gunshot of a 15-year-old boy in his home. He will be prosecuted for failing to secure his loaded service weapon, while knowing that there was a juvenile in the home. ow.ly/k0iBi
  • Portland, Oregon: A lawsuit filed says that an officer should lose his job for suddenly firing a beanbag shotgun that he mistakenly loaded with lethal rounds at a man obviously suffering from a mental illness. The man narrowly escaped bleeding to death, but he is permanently disabled. ow.ly/k0gTd
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: A police officer is accused of altering the prices on items at a retail store and trying to purchase those products at a discount. He has been with the police department for 25 years and is currently on paid leave. ow.ly/jYXS2
  • Boynton Beach, Florida: A police officer will not be prosecuted for misconduct in exchange for admitting guilt and giving up his law enforcement license. Authorities accused him of lying in an arrest report about finding a suspect’s gun at a crime scene. He later acknowledged he found the weapon on the suspect at the police station. http://ow.ly/k0kPD
  • Fairfax County, Virginia: A now-former police officer was convicted in court of forcibly sodomizing his ex-girlfriend. He admitted having affairs, but he denies hurting the victim. http://ow.ly/k0o3r
  • Washington, DC: The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against a D.C. police officer accused of slamming a 10-year-old student’s head into a table so hard that the child reportedly suffered a concussion. The D.C. Police Chief issued a statement noting the prosecutors declined to prosecute and saying all officers should be given due process before anyone rushes to judgment. http://ow.ly/k0qeT
  • Perry, Utah: A former police officer has been sentenced to jail and probation for trying to bribe a highway patrol trooper for help in a DUI case. http://ow.ly/k0sHb
  • Coppell, Texas: The deputy police chief resigned after he and another police officer had been places on administrative leave while an internal investigation was underway. The police department declined to comment on the alleged violation or the investigation. http://ow.ly/k0tmG
  • Windermere, Florida: An officer was arrested on charges of official misconduct and threatening a public servant amid an investigation into allegations that officers were profiling citizens. “I want the residents of Windermere to hear from me that these kinds of acts will not be tolerated under any circumstances,” said the police chief.  http://ow.ly/k0Bo7

New Ken Burns Film on the Central Park Five

From Columnist George F. Will:

There were abundant dystopian aspects of New York City in the 1980s, when crime, crack and AIDS produced a perfect storm of anxiety about the fraying social fabric. This was the context — a city on edge — when on April 19, 1989, a 28-year-old white woman who worked on Wall Street went for a jog after dark in Central Park.  She became a victim of what was immediately called “wilding,” a word probably unknown by the four blacks and one Hispanic, ages 14 to 16, who were arrested and charged with raping her and beating her nearly to death.

After up to 30 hours of separate interrogations by detectives who are paid to be suspicious of suspects, four of the five confessed to a crime they did not commit. Why? Watch this documentary by Ken Burns, David McMahon and Sarah Burns. To see the old videotapes of the interrogations is to understand the dynamic that sent the five to prison despite the absence of evidence to bolster a rickety case that consisted entirely of those contradictory confessions.

More information here.

 

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 04-12-13

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, April 11, 2013:

  • Long County, Florida: A deputy sheriff was arrested on three felony counts of cruelty to children and one count of violation of his oath as a public official. ow.ly/jYp3y
  • Oxnard, California: The family of a man fatally shot by police after officers mistook him for a suspect has filed a federal lawsuit against the city and the police department. ow.ly/jYBzc
  • La Plata County, Colorado: A deputy has been arrested on suspicion of possessing child pornography. He is being held in jail on $10,000 bail, and is under suspension pending the outcome of the investigation. ow.ly/jYf2w
  • Update: Pawtucket, Rhode Island (First reported: 03-21-13): A police officer arrested on domestic abuse charges has pleaded no contest to one count in the case. If he stays out of trouble for a year the charge will be removed from his record. ow.ly/jYbC5
  • Irwindale, California:  A police officer pleaded not guilty to grand theft, second-degree burglary, and elder abuse for allegedly stealing $250,000 in cash that was hidden in his father’s detached garage. ow.ly/jY82Q
  • Update: Newark, New Jersey (First reported: 06-11-12): A police officer was sentenced to 48 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, two courts of loan application fraud and bank bribery. He conspired to defraud a bank by providing false statements and documents so he could secure a $1.92 million loan. ow.ly/jY32G
  • East Hartford, Connecticut: A $20 million lawsuit filed against the town and members of the police department claims police conspired to falsely arrest a 12-year-old boy after he was assaulted by an officer at his home. The lawsuit says that, despite please to stop from a social worker and the child’s mother, the officer continued to assault the child. ow.ly/jWAE4
  • Cabell County, West Virginia: A sheriff’s deputy has been suspended with pay while investigators look into a domestic violence allegation. ow.ly/jWzRQ
  • Monroe, Louisiana: An 18-year veteran state police sergeant was arrested on a variety of criminal violations, including narcotics distribution. “Thomas has dishonored his oath, his organization, and more importantly the community he swore to protect. We will push for the strongest possible punishment,” said the superintendent of state police. ow.ly/jWyKu
  • Highland, New York: A state trooper faces assault charges after what police described as a domestic incident. Police say that a female victim reported that she suffered a nasal fracture during a dispute. ow.ly/jWw2k

 

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