Unfortunately I’ve been fairly ill today, kept passing out and falling asleep so I’m sure I missed a few reports, but here are the 14 reports of police misconduct that I was able to track and put in our National Police Misconduct News Feed for this Monday, January 31, 2011:
- A Harris County TX deputy is under investigation on allegations that he beat a 72yr-old mentally ill man so severely in an empty visitation room that he died. There is some speculation that the beating was caught on camera but it seems unlikely. 
- Antioch CA has settled a lawsuit for $750,000 to a former police officer who claims that police illegally broke into her home when she was having a dispute with a tenant then tasered her before falsely arresting her on a resisting arrest charge. 
- The now-former police chief of Sullivan City TX has pled guilty to drug trafficking charges for helping Mexican cartels smuggle drugs into US. 
- Two Clearwater FL police officers have been suspended after internal investigations. One received a five day unpaid suspension for chipping a detainee’s tooth when he hit him in the head with his flashlight and the other received a single day without pay for hitting a metal pole with his police cruiser. 
- A Las Vegas NV police officer is facing felony charges on allegations that he gave a handgun to a felon. The same officer was involved in the controversial Costco shooting incident last year that took the life of a soldier under questionable circumstances. 
- A number of Wildwood NJ seasonal police officers are under investigation over a YouTube video that shows the officers harassing the person filming them and threatening to have him arrested for interference. However, it’s unclear of the seasonal officers are sworn law enforcement officers and it’s something I’m trying to verify before adding this to our database. 
- A Shillington PA police officer is now the subject of a search warrant after failing to appear at his arraignment on stalking-related charges. 
- The sheriff of Franklin County NC resigned a day before state officials announced that they are investigating allegations that funds are missing from the sheriff’s department. 
- A North Charleston SC police officer was arrested on DUI charges after crashing his police cruiser into a ditch. It wasn’t clear at the time of the article’s publication if he was on-duty or not but it seemed to indicate that he was. 
- A Gresham OR police detective was arrested on drunk driving charges after he crashed his unmarked cruiser into a ditch, though this officer appeared to be off-duty at the time. 
- An Austin TX police officer who was mired in controversy a year ago after he fatally shot a teen under questionable circumstances and is current appealing his termination over a domestic violence charge has pled guilty to a DUI charge that he was fired for, then rehired after he appealed that disciplinary action. 
- Two East Bank WV police officers are the subject of a lawsuit alleging that they harassed a woman for petitioning against a “police protection fee” by misleading her about needing to appear at court over a neighbor dispute so that she then became the subject of a bench warrant and subject to arrest.
- A Thunder Bay ON police officer has been suspended after charged with official misconduct on an unspecified neglect of duty allegation involving a subordinate officer. 
- And finally, two Prince George’s County MD police officers who were assigned to desk duty while under investigation on different misconduct allegations, including one for excessive use of force, have been reassigned again now that they are under investigation for misbehaving while on desk duty by shooting property containers with bb guns. 
Before I call it a day I did want to mention that Radley Balko at Reason Magazine wrote a piece debunking the latest rhetoric about an alleged “war on cops”. We did the same thing debunking earlier claims made in December and even back in July by police groups making claims on very questionable statistical grounds that were easily proven false with a little research.
It’s important to understand that these same groups, especially the LEOMF, have also been instrumental in efforts to reduce transparency through “police officer bills of rights” in several states by using similar claims that making police misconduct transparent to the public put police officers at risk.
With the same rhetoric being carried heavily by the media now, (which is surprising given they stand to lose the ability to report on police misconduct if this “war on police” rhetoric is acted on), it’s clear that yet another push to keep information about misconduct from the public is underway. Most likely in the form of another push for a national “Police Officers Bill of Rights” legislative effort, similar to HR 1972 and the HR Bill 413 we talked about last year that had been pushed by the current Vice President. Such laws would keep disciplinary records sealed in every state while also making it impossible for individual departments to improve how they investigate and discipline their officers.
So, it’s something to keep an eye on, because these groups aren’t making up this stuff up for no reason and we definitely can’t challenge groups like these who have millions in funds and can afford to buy press releases like there’s no tomorrow on our own… heck, we can’t even afford housing… so we need people to spread the word and be aware of these tactics and be ready for where they’re leading.
That’s it for today, stay safe out there!