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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Federal Guilty Pleas Soar As Bargains Trump Trials

That’s the headline of a front-page Wall Street Journal article today (sorry, subscription only).

It’s great to see more attention to this subject.  The average American has no idea how lopsided the numbers are.  All across the nation, in both state and federal court, fewer than 5 percent of the criminal cases are resolved by jury trials.  Prosecutorial threats of more charges and longer sentences pressure many people into surrendering their right to a jury trial.  For background, go here.

Police Seize Smart Phone From Bystander

The actions of the officer are troubling to some.

“A loitering ticket is the sort of thing that generally the crime, the offense is so miniscule that you would not normally be confiscating items. It looks to me like a dodge to try to justify what was arguably an improper act,” said State Senator Martin Looney.

Full story here.

Houston Police Shoot Man in Wheelchair

From the Houston Chronicle:

Advocates are calling for better training and more discipline after a Houston police officer fatally shot a mentally ill double-amputee in a wheelchair on Saturday, the third unarmed person police have shot in less than three months….

“How difficult is it, if nothing else, to get away from someone in a wheelchair who has no weapon, has only one arm and one good leg?” asked Arlene Kelly, co-founder of Civilians Down, a support group for victims of police violence that tracks misconduct. “It’s totally and completely needless. Those officers should have had that matter well in hand. The gun should have never been out of the holster.”

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 09-20-12

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, September 20, 2012:

  • Beach Park, Illinois: A family is still wondering what happened when a package was delivered and then 10 minutes later drug raiders burst through the front door. Their home was raided and left in shambles, and nothing has been done to fix it, even though the officers found nothing illegal.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: A public school police officer has been charged with nearly two dozen counts of sex crimes stemming from a police investigation into former students’ accusations that he sexually assaulted them. He was  arrested and suspended, and then he resigned.
  • Bellevue, Washington: The police department is investigating three officers after they allegedly taunted Seattle police officers at a Seahawks game. A Bellevue police chief released a statement that said she personally called the Seattle police officer to apologize and said it was unacceptable behavior and did not represent the Bellevue Police Department.
  • Update: Chicago, Illinois: An officer was charged with felony bribery and official misconduct. He solicited and accepted a $5,000 bribe to let a driver off after a traffic stop.
  • Colonial Beach, Virginia: An officer was charged with felonious assault following a reported fight in an apartment building. The officer got into a fight with another man and officers had to break up the fight after they responded to a 911 call.
  • Baltimore, Maryland: An officer has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for working to traffic heroin. “Using a police officer’s badge and gun to commit crime is a particularly egregious threat to the community. This case highlights the fact that the law enforcement community will not tolerate crime, especially when committed by those sworn to oppose it,” said the FBI agent in charge of the investigation.
  • Boise, Idaho: An officer abused his position as a high school resource officer to sexually abuse a boy for months, the student says. The student is now seeking punitive damages.
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico: Friends and family of a high-profile attorney found dead inside her home have always maintained she was murdered, even though medical investigators and police ruled her death a suicide. But a document has been obtained, filed by an APD officer who was at the scene two years ago, that alleges it was a staged murder. APD was criticized for its response at the scene. An inordinate number of officers were at the scene and there are accusations that officers were making jokes. One officer was punished for posting on the Internet that there’s “a special place in hell for her.”

Police Raid Wrong House, Kill 61-Year Old Man

From ABC News:

A 61-year-old man was shot to death by police while his wife was handcuffed in another room during a drug raid on the wrong house.  Police admitted their mistake, saying faulty information from a drug informant contributed to the death of John Adams Wednesday night. They intended to raid the home next door.

One official, later in the article, claims that they did “the best surveillance we could do.”  Really?  Well, that’s  not good enough.

The Cato raid map disproves the claim that these wrong door raids and violent deaths are “rare mistakes.”

UPDATE:  We saw this item on the ABC News web site the day before this post, but an astute reader informs us that this incident is not recent and actually happened more than ten years ago.

Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms Agency & Dept of Justice

From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department’s internal watchdog on Wednesday faulted the agency for misguided strategies, errors in judgment and management failures during a bungled gun-trafficking probe in Arizona that disregarded public safety and resulted in hundreds of weapons turning up at crime scenes in the U.S. and Mexico. …

The inspector general found fault with the work of the senior ATF leadership, the ATF staff and U.S. attorney’s office in Phoenix and senior officials of Justice’s criminal division in Washington. He also said that poor internal information-gathering and drafting at Justice and ATF caused the department to initially misinform Congress about Fast and Furious, beginning with a Feb. 4, 2011, letter.

“The inspector general’s report confirms findings by Congress’ investigation of a near total disregard for public safety in Operation Fast and Furious,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has been investigating Operation Fast and Furious since early 2011. Horowitz is to testify before Issa’s panel Thursday.


David Kopel provides background here and here.

Victim of Police Raid Says ‘It Changes Your Frame of Mind’

Paul Brown 58 Beach Park outside his home thwas raided by Lake County Metropolitan Enforcement Group officers. The officers damage

From the Sun Times:

Architect Paul Brown was in the basement of his home at the end of Adelphi Avenue when he heard a “huge noise” Friday afternoon that drew him up the stairs where he was met by gun in his face….

“They crashed things, they smashed things,” Brown, 58, said. “You couldn’t walk into a room because everything from the drawers was thrown around and emptied onto the floor….

“The door’s ruined and they left my house in a shambles and they don’t care. Now they won’t return my telephone calls. They’re supposed to be on our side,” he said.

Read the whole thing.  Sounds very similar to what happened to Mayor Cheye Calvo in the Maryland suburbs of  Washington, DC — package left on the door step and then a police raid.   That makes all of us vulnerable.   If you agree, please remember to tell that to the next person that says the police only raid the homes of people involved in drugs.  Not so.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 09-19-12

Here are the 12 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday September 20, 2012:

  • Las Vegas, Nevada: The families of two men who died during encounters with police officers have each filed a lawsuit. The lawsuits allege that the officers were negligent, which proved to be fatal.
  • Mount Joy Borough, Pennsylvania: After being tasered by an officer 15 times, the man being tasered died, claims a lawsuit. “They knew this man had mental issues. Rather than getting a crisis team … you have something going on that is just beyond the pale,” said the family’s attorney.
  • Kernersville, North Carolina: The police chief has been charged with failure to slow down to avoid a collision. His patrol car hit two handcuffed suspects sitting beside a road.
  • Dahlonega, Georgia: A former deputy sheriff pleased guilty in federal court to charges of producing child pornography involving a then 6-year-old girl.
  • Long Branch, New Jersey: Two men are dead while a third is in critical condition following a high-speed car chase and crash. One of the officers who conducted a motor vehicle stop saw that a passenger had a gun and tried to grab it. A chase ensued when the driver took off.
  • Robbinsville, New Jersey: An officer was arrested after he broke into an apartment and assaulted a mother in a wheelchair and he 4-year-old son. He was charged with official misconduct, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of endangering the welfare of a child, five counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, and one count each of burglary, harassment and criminal mischief.
  • Pasadena, California: A complaint alleging that an officer perjured himself during the investigation and prosecution of a man has been filed with the police department.
  • Sturbridge, Massachusetts: A police spokesman described the assault allegations against a trooper as “deeply disturbing.” If true, they “are diametrically opposed to the morals, values, and principles of the Massachusetts State police,” he said. The trooper was relieved from duty last week, following his indictment on indecent assault and battery and open and gross lewdness charges.
  • Miami County, Ohio: Sheriff’s Deputy is on paid administrative leave after police said he was arrested for OVI. A bystander called in his erratic driving. “We are saddened by the arrest, but commend the good Samaritan for being alert and calling 911” said Chief Deputy Dave Duchak.
  • Chicago, Illinois: A police officer was arrested for allegedly taking a bribe to fix a traffic-related case. He has not been formally charged yet. Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said he was saddened the officer potentially threw away his career for allegedly taking graft.
  • Newark, New Jersey: An officer has been charged with allegedly conspiring to plant drugs on an individual and then falsely arresting the individual. The charge of conspiracy to violate civil rights carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
  • Update: Madison, Wisconsin: A jury ruled that officers were not overly forceful in the arrest of a woman when she was drunk.


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 09-18-12

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, September 18, 2012

  • West Point, Utah: A high-speed chase that reached speeds of over 100 mph ended with a rollover crash. The chase began after an off-duty officer witnessed a store alarm going off when a man ran out. He appeared to be taking an electronic appliance.
  • Worcester, Massachusetts: Police have indefinitely suspended without pay a state trooper who was indicted on sexual assault charges. He was indicted on three counts of indecent assault and battery and two counts of open and gross lewdness involving an 18-year-old girl.
  • Burlington, Vermont:  A former state trooper who allegedly stole taxpayer money in an overtime scam is now accused of writing hundreds of fake traffic tickets.
  • Berwick, Pennsylvania: An officer was arrested on charges that he stole evidence to support his drug habit. He allegedly stole more than 800 packets of heroin from police at one time. Police are investigating to see if it was an isolated incident.
  • Memphis, Tennessee: An officer was charged in a complaint alleging the transportation of individuals in interstate commerce for the purpose of prostitution. The incident happened while the officer was on-duty and using his patrol car. “Human sex trafficking is a horrific crime that has a devastating impact on its victims and the community,” said U.S. Attorney Edward L. Stanton III. “What makes this case worse is that the alleged perpetrator is a law enforcement official who was sworn to protect and serve. Those who betray the public trust insult the integrity and honor of all law enforcement officials who risk their lives upholding the law.”
  • Brunswick County, North Carolina: A deputy is facing charges after a crash that killed a motorcyclist. He is charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and failure to yield.
  • Madison, Wisconsin: An officer who worked in a school was suspended without pay for eight days and reassigned for violating department policies.
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma: An officer was suspended again after accusations of sexual misconduct while on duty came up.
  • Milton, Delaware: A lawsuit has been filed against the City of Lewes and their police department. It claims the police unnecessarily used a taser to shock a man while he was handcuffed and shackled. The man says that he suffered permanent injuries from the arrest. The defense attorney for the city says that the man was intoxicated and he resisted efforts to administer first aid. He also said that there is no evidence of wrongdoing by his clients.


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