National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Problems at the FBI

From the Washington Post:

Nearly every criminal case reviewed by the FBI and the Justice Department as part of a massive investigation started in 2012 of problems at the FBI lab has included flawed forensic testimony from the agency, government officials said.

The findings troubled the bureau, and it stopped the review of convictions last August. Case reviews resumed this month at the order of the Justice Department, the officials said.

U.S. officials began the inquiry after The Washington Post reported two years ago that flawed forensic evidence involving microscopic hair matches might have led to the convictions of hundreds of potentially innocent people. Most of those defendants never were told of the problems in their cases.

One wonders whether the FBI had a good reason for stopping the review.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-26-14 to 07-28-14

Here are the 7 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, July 26 to Monday, July 28, 2014:

  • Iva, South Carolina: The police chief has been arrested on criminal domestic violence charges and suspended from duty. http://ow.ly/zEPiQ
  • Seminole County, Florida: A deputy accused of soliciting a 17-year-old girl for sex was arrested on a warrant. He was charged with lewd computer solicitation of a child, according to investigators. http://ow.ly/zESOl
  • Update: Columbus, Ohio (First reported 12-13-13): A now-former veteran police officer has been sentenced after admitting to collecting child pornography. He was given 10 ½ years behind bars. http://ow.ly/zETtJ
  • Socorro, New Mexico: A police sergeant was indicted on state felony theft charges. He is accused of stealing property of more than $1,500 and less than $20,000 and misapplication of fiduciary property over $1,500. ow.ly/zFx2t
  • Update: Scott Twp, Pennsylvania (Previously reported 05-13-14): A now-former police chief was sentenced to six months of unsupervised probation. He agreed to a plea deal on charges he hindered investigators in a sex abuse case. ow.ly/zG6eR
  • Newport, Tennessee: Two police captains were among four people indicted in a misconduct and money laundering case involving stolen goods and prescription pills, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced. ow.ly/zF1HH
  • Kern County, California: A deputy is set to go on trial for hitting and killing two pedestrians with his patrol car. The deputy is charged with two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter. He was responding to a call of a stolen vehicle. Reports by the California Highway Patrol show he was traveling at 80 mph without the emergency lights and siren activated. ow.ly/zEUk2

Problems in Milwaukee

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

Two Milwaukee police officers who admitted they were present during invasive body cavity searches that led to felony convictions against a third officer were neither criminally charged nor fired from the department after making deals with prosecutors, according to court records.

One of the two officers, Michael Gasser, was on the scene during a 2010 search that caused the victim to bleed from his anus for several days, according to Gasser’s deposition in a federal civil rights lawsuit.

Not only did Gasser avoid termination, he has been allowed to continue training rookie officers — even though he told internal investigators he didn’t think there was anything wrong with the search, he testified in June.

The second officer, Zachary Thoms, admitted in a deposition that he and Officer Michael Vagnini coerced a suspect to try to defecate into a cardboard box at the District 5 police station in 2011, hoping he would expel hidden drugs.

Meanwhile, two supervisors who were in charge of District 5 while illegal searches were occurring there have been promoted to the highest levels of the department.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-25-14

Here are the 17 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, July 25, 2014:

  • Orlando, Florida: A police officer has been indicted by a grand jury on charges he shot into a vehicle with an assault rifle without justification. ow.ly/zAgyz
  • Update: Los Angeles, California (First reported 06-18-13): A surfer who was shot at and had his car rammed by police officers during the manhunt for ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner will receive $1.8 million in a settlement. ow.ly/zAcuH
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Police records found that the suspect in the deaths of two women whose bodies were found in suitcases dumped on a rural road had abused his authority as a police officer by selling cellphone service while on duty. An internal investigation determined he was also stalking women while on duty. ow.ly/zAJAH
  • Update: Broward, Florida (Previously reported 07-22-14): A second now-former deputy has been sentenced to prison for falsely arresting a woman as part of a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme operated by a disbarred lawyer. ow.ly/zA7Md
  • Perryville, Missouri: A now-former police chief was sentenced in connection with charges of making a false report. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail and a year of probation for suspended execution of sentence. He will serve 10 days in jail and turn in his police license and certification. ow.ly/zA3QC
  • Spavinaw, Oklahoma: The police chief was released from jail after being arrested on two complaints of lewd molestation. According to a probable cause affidavit, the girls told investigators they were inappropriately touched by the chief multiple time during a period of years. ow.ly/zA7xm
  • St. Louis County, Missouri: A 13-year veteran has been charged with felony assault after striking a MetroLink passenger on the hand with his expandable baton following an argument. ow.ly/zAgNf
  • North Charleston, South Carolina: A police officer was arrested for possessing counterfeit money during a traffic stop. An officer pulled the man over for speeding in excess of 110 mph. Authorities found a police badge that identified the suspect as an officer. ow.ly/zA4XP
  • Update: Campbell, Wisconsin (First reported 06-10-14): A prosecutor says he plans to charge the police chief with a misdemeanor for allegedly registering a tea party leader on gay dating, pornography and federal health care websites. ow.ly/zASdP
  • Update: North Olmsted, Ohio (First reported 05-14-14): A now-former police officer, who held a New Year’s Eve party at his home attended by dozens of teenagers, was sentenced to five days in jail, given three years probation and fined $500. ow.ly/zA4oZ
  • New York, New York: A new video showing the arrest of an alleged subway farebeater purports to show a police officer using a chokehold to subdue the suspect, a prohibited police tactic that’s sparked outrage since another man died after being put in a similar position recently. ow.ly/zAg8j
  • Denver, Colorado: A police officer and his wife who were involved in a drunken brawl involving another officer and his wife both pled not guilty to charges. ow.ly/zA3Ch
  • Newark, New Jersey: A veteran police officer was indicted on charges that he pulled a gun on a man driving with his wife and son after a traffic dispute. ow.ly/zA3pE
  • Anderson County, Tennessee: The sheriff and four deputies have been named in a lawsuit that alleges assault and battery and false arrest in what’s described as a case of mistaken identity. ow.ly/zAfpQ
  • Weare, New Hampshire: The city has agreed to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit from a resident who was arrested after videotaping the police during a traffic stop. The resident received $35,000 and a written apology from the police chief. ow.ly/zA2jK
  • Honolulu, Hawaii: A now-former police officer pled guilty to trying to extort $15,000 from the owners of a local hostess bar. The charge was one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by threats and violence. ow.ly/zA1by
  • Jefferson Parish, Louisiana: A now-former deputy sheriff pled guilty to a felony traffic violation, for chasing a narcotics agent who was investigating allegations of illegal drug sales. The deputy sheriff was placed on five years’ probation for aggravated obstruction of a highway. ow.ly/zv4ZO

Problems in Newark, NJ

From the New York Times:

A three-year federal investigation has found that the Newark Police Department engaged in a pattern of unconstitutional practices, chiefly in its use of stop-and-frisk tactics, unwarranted stops and arrests, and discriminatory police actions, officials said on Tuesday.

The inquiry by the Justice Department, which found that the Police Department’s practices “have eroded the community’s trust,” said that about 75 percent of pedestrian stops documented by the police did not provide a sufficient basis for the stop. Also, it found that Newark police officers stopped black people at a considerably higher rate than white people and underreported the use of force by officers, said Paul J. Fishman, the United States attorney for New Jersey. Officials also said there was a pattern of theft of citizens’ property, mostly by officers working in the narcotics, gangs and prisoner processing units.

Note this:

Chief Campos said it was unclear if officers who took part in the unconstitutional behavior cited in the Justice Department report would face consequences.

Unclear?  Hmm.

Problems at the Border Patrol

From the Washington Post:

FOLLOWING MONTHS of damning disclosures about the use of deadly force by Border Patrol agents, Department of Homeland Security officials tightened the rules of engagement this spring. But it remains unclear whether U.S. Customs and Border Protection — with 43,000 agents, the biggest federal law enforcement agency — will end what appears to be a culture of impunity that has shielded agents from consequences and even meaningful investigations following senseless and unjustified killings.

Full editorial here.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-24-14

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, July 24, 2014:

  • Update: Waltham, Massachusetts (Previously reported 03-05-14): A now-former veteran police officer, guilty of possessing child pornography, was sentenced to five years in federal prison. http://ow.ly/zv7Np
  • Harker Heights, Texas: A veteran K-9 officer has turned in his badge and gun after a misdemeanor arrest stemming from the theft of three pairs of sunglasses from a store. http://ow.ly/zvaij
  • Saint Jo, Texas: A police officer was arrested for official oppression. He is accused of unlawfully detaining an 18-year-old female driver on at least two occasions and following her on several other occasions, according to the arrest affidavit. http://ow.ly/zvaL6
  • Independence, Kansas: The police chief made pleas to perjury, official misconduct, misuse of public funds, and theft of property valued at more than 25,000. He was sentenced to concurrent terms of six months for the perjury charge, 12 months for the official misconduct charge, 12 months for the misuse of public funds charge, and 12 months for the theft charge. http://ow.ly/zvwpG
  • Update: Schuyler County, Missouri (First reported 07-11-14): The Sheriff has submitted his letter of resignation. He has been charged with three counts of permitting escape and two charges of tampering with a witness. http://ow.ly/zv6T5
  • Dallas, Texas: The mother of a man whose shooting death at the hands of an officer spurred outrage and protest has filed a lawsuit against the city and the officer. She accuses the officer of using excessive force, the police department of racial profiling and false arrest.
  • Denver, Colorado: A police officer has been placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation into sexual assault allegations. http://ow.ly/zvF8q
  • New York, New York: A man claims in a $10 million lawsuit that he sustained a broken rib from a beatdown by a detective in an interrogation room. The city declined to comment on the suit. http://ow.ly/zvFH1

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-23-14

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, July 23, 2014:

  • St. Clair County, Missouri: The now-former sheriff was indicted by a federal grand jury for stealing property recovered in criminal cases and for selling a stolen firearm. “Today’s indictment alleges that the former sheriff treated the county’s evidence room like his personal tool shed, cheating the taxpayers and citizens of St. Clair County,” an attorney said. “No one is above the law. When the county’s chief law enforcement officer violates the very law he took an oath to uphold, he will be held accountable.” http://ow.ly/zv39U
  • Austin, Texas: A man has filed a lawsuit against a police officer, claiming the officer used excessive force. http://ow.ly/zv68a
  • Country Club Hills, Illinois: A police officer faces charges after he allegedly fired his weapon into a home while off duty and drinking at a friend’s house. He was charged with felony reckless discharge of a firearm and his bond was set at $75,000. ow.ly/zuXOz
  • Los Angeles County, California: A sheriff’s deputy who hit and killed bicycler was texting when the incident occurred. ow.ly/zuNhH
  • Greenville County, South Carolina: The third-highest ranking officer in the sheriff’s office has been fired after an internal affairs investigation concluded that he assisted criminals and didn’t keep Sheriff’s Office business secure. ow.ly/zuITe
  • Update: Cleveland, Ohio (First reported 07-15-14): A police officer has been indicted on 15 felony charges related to his illicit sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl. ow.ly/zuHLD
  • Oakdale, Louisiana: A police officer was fired and charged with a sex crime involving a juvenile. State Police says its investigation revealed that the officer had sexual relations with a juvenile while on duty. ow.ly/zt3jz
  • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: A police officer is being charged following allegations that she misappropriated funds from the Harrisburg Police Athletic League, a volunteer charitable organization she helped administer. ow.ly/zsZh3
  • Boardman, Oregon: A police officer resigned in the wake of his arrest for drunk and reckless driving. ow.ly/zsY5h

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-22-14

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, July 22, 2014:

  • Update: Bull Shoals, Arkansas (Previously reported 07-11-14): The police chief was found not guilty on two counts related to an arrest. A mistrial was declared on the third count of use of excessive force. http://ow.ly/zpuJr
  • Hazleton, Pennsylvania: Claims that a man pointed a gun at police before they shot him to death defy science and common sense, his sister said in a federal lawsuit filed that seeks more than $3.45 million in damages and claims that the city police routinely use excessive force against minorities. http://ow.ly/zq58I
  • Update: Broward County, Florida (Previously reported 05-13-14): A now-former lieutenant has been sentenced to five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy for his role in a convicted Ponzi scheme operator’s $1.2 billion fraud. http://ow.ly/zpRyu
  • Update: Westminster, South Carolina (First reported 03-25-13): A now-former police chief who was charged with embezzlement, forgery and misconduct in office pled guilty. ow.ly/zsXKO
  • El Paso, Texas: A now-former police officer charged with tax fraud in connection with a medical billing scheme is scheduled to appear in court. He has been charged with corrupt interference with Internal Revenue laws and 14 counts of structuring transactions to evade reporting requirements and aiding and abetting. ow.ly/zsV7p
  • Nolensville, Tennessee: An officer has been indicted for misconduct, according to a media release. He is accused of receiving inappropriate images of a minor female on his cellphone. ow.ly/zsQcc
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A now- former 10-year officer was ordered to stand trial for false imprisonment and related charges. He allegedly snatched a retired military veteran off a street, cuffed him, threw him face-first into the back of his marked SUV and drove him to a dark alley in the early-morning hours. ow.ly/zsDIQ
  • Update: Phillips, Wisconsin (First reported 03-05-14): The police chief accused of wrongdoing by the mayor will retire after an agreement was reached with the city. He been on paid administrative leave while the city’s Police Review Committee investigated the accusations. In a 16-page he was accused of falsifying an arrest document in a drug investigation and submitting a claim for expenses for a trip he never took. ow.ly/zsv9p
  • Golden Meadow, Louisiana: Authorities say a police officer and two others have been arrested and booked with manufacturing methamphetamine. ow.ly/zselX

Conservatives and the Police

From National Review Online:

Imagine if I were to tell you there is a large group of government employees, with generous salaries and ridiculously cushy retirement pensions covered by the taxpayer, who enjoy incredible job security and are rarely held accountable even for activities that would almost certainly earn the rest of us prison time. When there is proven misconduct, these government employees are merely reassigned and are rarely dismissed. The bill for any legal settlements concerning their errors? It, too, is covered by the taxpayers. Their unions are among the strongest in the country.

No, I’m not talking about public-school teachers.

I’m talking about the police.

We conservatives recoil at the former; yet routinely defend the latter — even though, unlike teachers, police officers enjoy an utter monopoly on force and can ruin — or end — one’s life in a millisecond….

But it’s time for conservatives’ unconditional love affair with the police to end….

The new video and photo evidence invites the troubling thought that this kind of behavior has long been routine. Only now is it coming to the attention of people who have led lives insulated from heavy interaction with the police. There is some statistical reason to believe that police today may actually be better-disciplined than they were in the past, and there’s certainly reason to hope that dashboard cams, wearable audio and video devices, and other technologies will lead to better outcomes for law-abiding cops as well as for law-abiding civilians.

 

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