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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 04-14-16 and 04-15-16

Here are the 13 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, April 14 and Friday, April 15, 2016:

April 14:

  • Creek Nation (Oklahoma): An officer was arrested for shoplifting make-up from a Wal-Mart while on duty.
  • Juneau County, Wisconsin: A detective was arrested for domestic violence.
  • Orlando, Florida: The citizen review board ruled that an officer used excessive force against a homeless man, overruling an internal affairs decision. The prosecutor now must decide whether to press charges against the officer.
  • DEA: An agent was suspended while he is under investigation into a task force drug scandal that resulted in criminal charges against others under his supervision.
  • Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana: A deputy was charged with sexual battery and malfeasance in office. He was fired.
  • Illinois State Police: A trooper pled guilty to DUI and was sentenced to one year of court supervised probation. He responded to an accident while drunk on-duty.
  • Montebello, California: An officer was charged with assault after a video recording of him slamming another man’s head into the ground was released.

April 15:

  • Update: Crawford, Texas: A now-former officer was sentenced to 10 years’ probation for fondling a juvenile girl in 2013.
  • Midland, Texas: An officer was arrested for misdemeanor assault after an incident with his girlfriend.
  • Update: Cook County, Illinois: A now-former officer was sentenced to 7 ½ years in prison for stealing drugs from dealers.
  • Update: East Cleveland, Ohio: A now-former officer was sentenced to nine years in prison for stealing cash from drug dealers.
  • Update: Chattanooga, Tennessee: An officer who was under investigation for sexual assault while on duty has been fired.
  • Aiken County, South Carolina: A deputy was arrested for child molestation. He has been fired.

Guilty Plea in John Geer Case

Jury selection was scheduled to start today in the trial of former Fairfax County, Virginia officer Adam Torres for the 2013 shooting death of John Geer. Torres instead pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

As regular readers of may recall, Geer was killed while standing inside the front door of his home with his hands up. The Fairfax County police had been called to the home because of a domestic disturbance.

The Washington Post’s  Tom Jackman has been diligently covering this case since the shooting. Fairfax authorities were reluctant to release the name or status of Torres, waiting over a year to do so and eventually fire and charge him in the case. The delays and secrecy surrounding the incident led to a Post editorial headline that declared the case “looks unmistakably like a police coverup.”

Today’s plea agreement included a recommended sentence of 12 months—Torres is currently held in jail without bond—but Judge Robert J. Smith rejected that sentence and ordered a sentencing recommendation memo and a hearing for June 24.

We will continue to follow this case as it moves to the sentencing stage.

Read Jackman’s full write-up of today’s plea and the case history here.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 04-13-16

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, April 13, 2016:

  • New York, New York: A man was awarded $1.8m for a lawsuit against the City. He was beaten by an officer over an open container violation and prosecuted. The criminal charge was thrown out.
  • Update: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (First reported 02-16-15): Two now-former officers were acquitted for their actions in the 2013 beating of Najee Rivera.
  • Update: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (First reported 11-19-14): An officer was acquitted of criminal charges. He was alleged to have used racial slurs and threatened to kill a man. The jury hung on weapons and assault charges.
  • Sussex County, New Jersey: A deputy was charged with official misconduct for a relationship with a probationer.  He warned her when drug tests were scheduled and she, in turn, told other people on probation to cheat the test. l
  • Cleveland, Ohio: An officer was arrested for an off-duty assault at a casino.
  • Oakland, California: An officer was charged with battery for and off-duty assault while he was intoxicated on a woman and her husband.
  • Boulder City, Nevada: The now-former chief was charged with failure to perform his duty. He dropped animal cruelty charges against a public employee. The employee allegedly killed many animals for enjoyment, but the chief allowed her to retire rather than press charges.
  • St. Louis, Missouri: An officer was charged with DWI after an off-duty crash into a parked vehicle.
  • Carrabelle, Florida: An officer was charged with sexual assault, possession of child pornography, and witness tampering.

Chicago’s Police Accountability Task Force

Last December Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel formed a task force to conduct a top-to-bottom review of the Chicago Police Department.  That move followed calls for Emanuel’s resignation in the wake of the video release of the Laquan McDonald shooting.

The Task Force released its report yesterday.  Here is an excerpt:

The public has lost faith in the oversight system. Every stage of investigations and discipline is plagued by serious structural and procedural flaws that make real accountability nearly impossible. The collective bargaining agreements provide an unfair advantage to officers, and the investigating agencies—IPRA and CPD’s Bureau of Internal Affairs—are under-resourced, lack true independence and are not heldaccountable for their work. Even where misconduct is found to have occurred, officers are frequently able to avoid meaningful consequences due to an opaque, drawn out and unscrutinized disciplinary process… Any one of these metrics in isolation is troubling, but taken together, the only conclusion that can be reached is that there is no serious embrace by CPD leadership of the need to make accountability a core value. These statistics give real credibility to the widespread perception that there is a deeply entrenched code of silence supported not just by individual officers, but by the very institution itself….Simply put, there is no ownership of the issue within CPD leadership or elsewhere, and thus there have been no substantive efforts to address these problems which continue to cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars each year.

The full report is close to 200 pages and we have not yet studied the whole thing.  Most of the criticism is directed at the police department itself–and it is damning.  The executive summary says little about Mayor Emanuel or his culpability.  Hmm.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 04-12-16

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, April 12, 2016:

  • Update: San Antonio, Texas (First reported 04-07-16): The SRO caught on film slamming a 12-year-old girl face-first to the ground has been fired.
  • Sanford, Florida: A lieutenant was arrested after allegedly head-butting and punching woman in the nose after off-duty barhopping.
  • Update: Mansfield, Ohio (First reported 02-13-15): An officer is currently on trial facing 35 criminal charges. According to the report, those charges included “15 counts of misuse of a computer, 11 counts of dereliction of duty, burglary, trespassing into a habitation, attempted gross sexual imposition, sexual battery, attempted sexual battery, menacing by stalking, public indecency, and two counts of tampering with evidence. incl. misuse of police computers and sexual misconduct.”
  • Update: North Augusta, South Carolina (First reported 09-30-14): A now-former officer was sentenced to three years’ probation for fatally shooting 68-year-old Ernest Satterwhite in his car. The City settled a civil suit with Satterwhite’s estate for over $1,000,000 in 2015.
  • Update: Newark, New Jersey (First reported 06-25-15): An officer was indicted for misconduct, conspiracy, and computer theft for allegedly selling personal information retrieved from a law enforcement database.
  • San Diego County, California: A deputy was fired for slapping a woman who was in a wheelchair while he was off duty and intoxicated. He pulled his badge when others intervened.
  • Pinellas County, Florida: Two deputies were suspended. One was suspended for failing to note a driver’s impairment after a fatal crash. The other was involved in an off-duty bar fight.
  • Update: Wichita, Kansas (First reported 01-08-15): A now-former officer pled guilty to making a felony criminal threat. He was originally charged with 13 counts of domestic violence against his wife. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 26.
  • Update: Hartsville, Indiana (First reported 07-24-15): A now-former deputy town marshal pled guilty to attempted dissemination of harmful material to a minor. He sent inappropriate text messages to a 12-year-old girl. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 12.
  • Update: Marion County, Florida (First reported 01-27-16): A deputy was acquitted in a federal civil rights trial for beating an unarmed man.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 04-11-16

Here are the 14 reports of police misconduct tracked for Monday, April 11, 2016:

  • Update: Stockton, California (First reported 01-08-16): An officer is no longer on the force after he was accused of issuing a retaliatory ticket against an outspoken citizen who had complained on social media. The citizen’s car was ticketed while on his private property.
  • Indiana State Police: An officer was fired for proselytizing motorists during traffic stops.
  • Houston, Texas: An officer arrested a man for pointing a gun at him twice in an off-duty incident at a gas station. The surveillance footage supports defendant’s claim that he his legally permitted gun fell to the ground by accident and that he never pointed the gun at the off-duty officer.
  • Oilton, Oklahoma: An officer was charged with child pornography possession.
  • Anne Arundel County, Maryland: The sheriff was arrested for second-degree assault against his wife.
  • Glynn County, Georgia: A deputy was charged with improper use of county credit card and falsifying records.
  • Update: Benton County, Arkansas (First reported 02-26-16): A now-former deputy pled not guilty to having sex with a minor and child pornography possession.
  • Benton County, Arkansas: A deputy is no longer on the force after his off-duty arrest for public intoxication.
  • Honolulu, Hawaii: An officer was arrested DUI and accidental bodily injury after two car crash.
  • Update: Milwaukee, Wisconsin (First reported 12-05-13): A now-former officer was indicted on federal charges for punching a handcuffed suspect in an interview room.  He was acquitted on state charges related to the incident.
  • Auburn, Georgia: An officer was arrested by for extortion conspiracy. He took $40,000 from a driver during a bogus traffic stop that was actually a DEA sting.
  • Roscoe, Texas: An officer was arrested for DWI and was fired.
  • Dennis, Massachusetts: An officer was sentenced to probation for OUI.
  • Osage County, Missouri: The sheriff was charged with unlawful use of a weapon while intoxicated for pulling a gun outside of bar while off duty.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 04-08-16

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, April 8, 2016:

  • Update: Oakland, Florida (First reported 03-09-15): A now-former officer was sentenced to 25 years in prison for child molestation and child pornography convictions.
  • Barrow County, Georgia (Initially reported as Bartow County): A deputy was charged with sexual assault and false statements for actions against a female detainee. He has been fired.
  • Baltimore, Maryland: An officer will not be charged in the non-fatal shooting of John Rau, who was unarmed.
  • Waukesha County, Wisconsin: A deputy resigned after falsifying police reports and payroll records. He will not be criminally charged.
  • Dubuque, Iowa: The City settled an excessive force lawsuit for $50,000.
  • Leadville, Colorado: A now-former chief was charged with 14 felonies for stealing departmental firearms and accessories. He allegedly kept some of them and sold others at a pawn shop.
  • Rossford, Ohio: An officer was charged with domestic violence for hitting his father who had been arrested and detained in the back of a patrol car. The officer was on duty at the time.
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota: An officer on trial for perjury, falsifying records, and civil rights violations for off-duty
  • Roanoke, Virginia: An officer was charged with one count of forcible sodomy.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 04-07-16

Here are the ten reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, April 7, 2016:

  • Caldwell County, Texas: A deputy is under investigation after fatally shooting a man armed with a shovel.
  • Pinellas County, Florida: A deputy was suspended for 40 hours for engaging in a high-speed pursuit at speeds approaching 130mph and not reporting it.
  • Update: Los Angeles County, California (First reported 05-14-15): The now-former undersheriff Paul Tanaka was convicted of corruption and obstruction in the latest case in the long-running jail abuse and cover-up fallout.
  • El Paso, Texas: An officer was charged with aggravated assault after pulling a gun on a man after being kicked out of a bar.
  • Baltimore, Maryland: A family demands answers after a father and son were fatally shot by two officers who fired 56 rounds.
  • St. Louis, Missouri: An officer pled guilty for beating a shackled suspect and sticking a gun in his mouth.
  • New York, New York: Four officers were suspended or reprimanded as internal and federal corruption investigations continue into karaoke bar protection scheme.
  • San Antonio, Texas Independent School District: An SRO was captured on video slamming a 12-yr-old student to the ground face first thus knocking her unconscious.
  • Update: Winona County, Minnesota (First reported 06-04-15): A now-former deputy was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation for solicitation.
  • Update: U.S Customs and Border Patrol (McAllen, Texas) (First reported 02-01-16): A now-former officer pled guilty to bribery for accepting $3,600 to manipulate the visa process for two separate people.

Can the Feds Fix Broken Police Departments?

From the National Interest (Online):

 It has been one year since Freddie Gray died while in the custody of the Baltimore Police Department. Gray’s death sparked peaceful protests and then calamitous riots that brought international attention and prompted the deployment of National Guard units. While local prosecutors indicted the officers involved in Gray’s arrest, the federal government promised to investigate the entire police department for a “pattern or practice” of constitutional violations. The impending outcome of that inquiry seems foreordained. The real question is whether federal monitoring can truly fix a broken police department. The conventional wisdom is that it can, but experience tells us that it can be counterproductive….

When the feds do intervene, everyone seems to be pleased. The heat is off the local officials to address police misconduct. They say they’ll have to await the outcome of the federal investigation before taking any action. Federal officials are pleased because they are seen as the cavalry coming to the rescue. Civil rights activists are satisfied because they think a federal lawsuit will bring about needed reforms. The police department and police union benefit as well. The intense media scrutiny will now fade as the months roll past.

Unfortunately, federal intervention has a counterproductive “enabling” effect: it allows local officials to evade their responsibility to fix broken police organizations. When the local politicos make a plea for federal intervention, it deflects attention away from their oversight failure and actually squanders the prospect for sweeping changes at a pivotal moment.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 04-06-16

Here are the eight reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, April 6, 2016:

  • Update: East Stroudsburg University (Pennsylvania) (First reported 10-15-15): A now-former officer was sentenced to three years’ probation and fined $3,000 after he pled guilty to prescription drug charges. He was arrested on similar charges before (see NPMRP report from July 23, 2009) but retained his job.
  • Update: Checotah, Oklahoma (First reported 08-06-15): A now-former K-9 officer pled guilty to larceny and drug possession for stealing drugs. He was given a five-year deferred sentence with one year of supervised probation. He was also ordered to enter a drug rehabilitation program.
  • Update: Maui, Hawaii (First reported 06-04-15): An officer was arrested five times in one year and remains on the force.
  • Update: Weld County, Colorado (First reported 11-19-14): A now-former deputy was acquitted in the 2011 shooting death of his wife.
  • Horry County, South Carolina: A senior detective was fired for sexual harassment. Seven of his criminal cases have been re-opened. One notable case involved a victim who claimed she was raped while she was drunk. No criminal charges were filed after her initial complaint, but a suspect has since been arrested after the case was re-opened. More than 100 of his cases are now under review.
  • Update: Austin, Texas (First reported 01-15-16): An officer who was suspended for 90 days for repeatedly tasing a homeless man will not face criminal charges.
  • Saline County, Arkansas: A deputy was arrested for DWI after a single-vehicle crash.
  • Eddy County, New Mexico: A deputy was arrested for transporting stolen livestock and unlawful disposition of animals, both felonies.

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