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National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-11-12

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, July 11, 2012:

  • Springdale, Utah: Speed trap officers have been accused of collecting $11,460 from overseas travelers, and pocketing the money. The audit is currently underway to determine what happened.
  • Hartford, Connecticut: A driver was killed, and at least one police officer was injured, in a crash that followed a chase over a car that was reportedly stolen.
  • Poughkeepsie, New York: A man who failed to use a traffic signal was pursued by police after he did not pull over.  A police car and several other cars were almost hit during the chase.
  • Broomfield, Colorado: Kyle Miller, a 21-year-old with a history of mental health issues, was having a breakdown when his family called the police. His brother, while on the phone with the dispatcher, warned that he was carrying an air soft gun, and that it was not real. The dispatcher replied, “I know, the officers are trained in this kind of thing. They’re not going to go around shooting people.” The officers shot and killed Miller when he pointed the gun at them. 
  • Gulfport, Florida: A car chase was triggered by a car reportedly stolen.  The chase ended when the suspect’s car struck a bus, and the bus subsequently struck a home. Police chase policies in the town are now under review. The Mayor of St. Petersburg, where the chase ended, said the chase would not have happened had it started in his city.
  • Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan: A state police post commander was arrested on a drunken driving charge. The arrest followed a traffic accident in a personal vehicle.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio: A 12-year-old girl is in critical condition after she and two friends stole $26.29 worth of snacks and candy from a convenience store, and then crashed while being chased by police.
  • San Antonio, Texas: Several officers were caught on camera beating a 21-year-old woman who is pregnant. “She was already cuffed and they started to beat her, which I don’t think was right. It was pretty messed up. She was already down and pretty small compared to the other officers,” said the man who shot the video from across the street.
  • Colchester, Vermont: A state police officer resigned after padding his time sheets by claiming to be on duty when he was not. In the last fiscal year he claimed $56,000 in overtime. The average for an officer is $30,000. “He betrayed his badge, his core values,” said State Police Colonel L’Esperance.
  • Lincoln, Rhode Island: Lincoln Police Officers have been accused in three separate incidents involving Casino patrons who claim that they were injured. Two of the three incidents were caught on video. “The failure here is systematic,” said one of the patron’s attorneys.


Shakedown in Utah

From the Wall Street Journal:

Small-town speed traps are legendary among travelers, who often suspect police of targeting tourists from other parts of the country to help fill local coffers. But officers in tiny Springdale, Utah, may have used their radar guns to pocket cash from foreign drivers they stopped, according to the state auditor.

Three police officers in Springdale, a popular gateway to Zion National Park, collected $11,640 from overseas visitors they stopped from January through October of 2011, a report from Utah State Auditor Auston Johnson found. The auditor maintains the collections during the stops were a violation of state law.

In addition, Mr. Johnson’s report said his office found 138 citation documents—one-third of the total it examined—missing from local files with no record of what happened to any fines collected. The citations are easily tracked since they are numbered, officials from his office said. The report didn’t name the officers.

“The possibility exists that officers could have written citations, collected the citation fines from defendants on the spot, destroyed the citations, and kept the money without anyone ever noticing,” Mr. Johnson said in his report, released in June.

Via Jonathan Turley blog.

Junk Food Theft Triggers Chase, Crash


PLEASANT RIDGE – Potato chips, cookies, beef jerky, a couple fruit-flavored drinks, energy bars and candy – stolen goods valued at $26.29.

That alleged theft from a convenience store during the wee hours Tuesday morning touched off a police chase that ended with a carload of young girls crashing, leaving a 12-year-old girl in critical condition and hurting two others. Now criminal charges are pending against the girls, including the 16-year-old driver.

Cincinnati police internal investigators are also scrutinizing whether the officer followed proper procedures in the pursuit and in the officer’s attempt to use a Taser on the teen driver who allegedly tried to flee after the crash, police said. “They’re looking into all aspects of this incident,” said Sgt. Dennis Swingley, Cincinnati police spokesman.

Kyle Miller Shooting

From the Denver Post:

A 911 call recorded just before Kyle Miller was shot to death by Broomfield police officers last week shows that his family warned dispatchers the 21-year-old was armed with an Airsoft pellet gun — not a real handgun.

In response, a dispatcher assured the victim’s brother, “Officers are trained in this kind of thing. They’re not going to go around shooting people.”

Broomfield police received a 911 call around 7:20 a.m. June 28 about a “mentally distraught” man in the Aspen Creek subdivision. While officers were en route, they encountered Miller near the intersection of Aspen Street and Durango Avenue. Miller pointed the pellet gun at police and was shot by officers.

H/T:  Mike Riggs


Thousands of Criminal Cases Now Under Review

From the Washington Post:

The Justice Department and the FBI have launched a review of thousands of criminal cases to determine whether any defendants were wrongly convicted or deserve a new trial because of flawed forensic evidence, officials said Tuesday.

The undertaking is the largest post-conviction review ever done by the FBI. It will include cases conducted by all FBI Laboratory hair and fiber examiners since at least 1985 and may reach earlier if records are available, people familiar with the process said. Such FBI examinations have taken place in federal and local cases across the country, often in violent crimes, such as rape, murder and robbery.

The review comes after The Washington Post reported in April that Justice Department officials had known for years that flawed forensic work might have led to the convictions of potentially innocent people but had not performed a thorough review of the cases. In addition, prosecutors did not notify defendants or their attorneys even in many cases they knew were troubled….

The review comes as the National Academy of Sciences is urging the White House and Congress to remove crime labs from police and prosecutors’ control, or at least to strengthen the science and standards underpinning the nation’s forensic science system….

The last time the FBI abandoned a forensic practice was in 2005, when it ended efforts to trace bullets to a specific manufacturer’s batch through analyzing their chemical composition after its methodology was scientifically debunked. The bureau released files in an estimated 2,500 bullet-lead cases only after “60 Minutes” and The Post reported the problem in 2007….

In past reviews, the department kept results secret and gave findings only to prosecutors, who then determined whether to turn them over to the defense.

Two reviews since 2005 — and only after journalists expose the problems!  Congratulations to the Washington Post staff, the Innocence Project, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers on this.

Footnote:  The FBI had problems well before 2005.  Please remember that.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-10-12

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday July 10, 2012:

  • Princess Anne, Maryland: A high-speed chase that began over a seat belt infraction ended with a state trooper seriously injured, a burned up police car, and a man dead.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A police officer has been arrested and charged with theft. She was accused of stealing from a woman who was in custody of the police department. The officer has been placed on suspension for 30 days before plans of her dismissal.
  • Anderson County, South Carolina: Shane Thompson, a deputy, was arrested and charged after an investigation. While on duty he “did engage in numerous drug transactions,” according to the warrant. It also said he “provided law enforcement sensitive information to individual(s) not authorized to receive the information.”
  • Springfield, Ohio: Police said they arrested a sheriff’s deputy; he was charged with using weapons while intoxicated. The deputy was armed with a gun and had ammunition and a magazine. He also had pepper spray.  
  • Marion, Iowa: A motorcyclist died after a high-speed chase. It was at least the third chase in four days involving a motorcycle in the area. All of the chases have ended in crashes.
  • Asheville, North Carolina: A sheriff’s deputy was charged with driving while impaired. He also ran a red light during the incident. He subsequently resigned.
  • Carter County, Missouri: Former sheriff, Tommy Adams, and his former chief deputy admitted they stole firearms seized as evidence and sold them. Adams was also accused of distributing meth and cocaine, and snorting meth in front of a confidential informant.
  • Clermont, Florida: Three off-duty police officers deliberately pranked an on-duty officer, by driving past her at 90+ miles per hour, causing her to pursue them. The driver said “he was just having fun.” Two of the officers have since been fired.

‘Just Having Fun’ … Luring Another Cop into a 90 mph Chase

From the Orlando Sentinel:

Officer Christina Fowler was working the night shift March 5 when she spotted a speeding car heading south on U.S. Highway 27 around 11:20, according to an investigative report. She tried to pull the car over, but the driver only tapped the brakes before taking off.

Fowler followed.

The video from her patrol-car camera captured the scene as the car raced away.

“Man, he’s doing over 80,” she said. And then, moments later, “Wow, he’s doing over 90.”

Inside the fleeing car were three fellow officers from the Clermont police force on their way back from a trip to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, according to the report obtained Monday.

Fowler continued to pursue the car, turning on her emergency lights when it pulled into the Clermont Landing shopping-center parking lot, the report said.

The driver jumped out of his vehicle, and Fowler drew her weapon. Then she realized it was Officer Marc Thompson — who was laughing.

As a result of that off-duty prank, two police officers were fired from the Clermont squad. Sgt. Mark Edwards and Thompson were terminated Thursday by police Chief Steve Graham for department violations. A third officer, Dennis Hall, was suspended for one day without pay.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident at Graham’s request and determined: “[A]ll officers involved in this incident felt that the prank was not malicious in nature but was intended to be a joke.”

The report continued: “Officer Fowler felt however that the driver, Officer Thompson, she was pursuing was driving at unsafe speeds which had the potential to cause a serious accident especially near S.R. 50 where there is road construction and a dangerous intersection.”

Thompson, behind the wheel of his personal vehicle, laughed hysterically when he was finally pulled over by Fowler, and said “he was just having fun,” according to the report. Hall and Edwards were passengers in the car.

Good to see some accountability, but note:

A police-union official said Monday that the officers would not comment because an appeal to the city manager is pending.


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-07-12 to 07-09-12

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for July 7 – July 9, 2012:

  • Prince George’s County, Maryland: Almost three weeks have passed since the fatal shooting of a man, Chester Crestwell, and Metro Transit Authorities are still refusing to release the name of the Metro officer who shot him. Authorities are investigating whether Crestwell was involved in an attempted abduction.
  • Queens, New York: An off-duty police officer crashed his car while driving intoxicated. He has been suspended without pay.
  • Los Angeles, California: Sheriff’s Captain Daniel Cruz, who ran the Men’s County Jail, openly joked about hitting inmates, and encouraged misconduct in the jail. Michael Bornman, a department captain, told of a culture of brutality in his testimony against Cruz.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The District Attorney’s office filed charged, including voluntary manslaughter, against two former police officers. A man was shot and killed in 2008, by one of the officers, allegedly over a pizza.
  • Roswell, New Mexico: A Roswell police officer has been accused of an aggravated DUI after crashing into a parked car. The officer has since been placed on leave.
  • Milan, Tennessee:  Police Officer Adam Scott Martin was arrested and charged with sexual battery by an authority figure against a 19-year-old girl. He was accused of fondling her, and has been suspended without pay.
  • Spokane, Washington: The autopsy of a 23-year-old who was shot by a police officer shows that his death was caused by a bullet that entered his neck and traveled directly down his spine. That trajectory is consistent with him lying on the ground when he was shot. His family is now suing, alleging “excessive force, deadly force, and/or inadequate training.”
  • Red Lodge, Missouri: A motorcyclist who claims an officer “physically and emotionally brutalized” him is suing the city of Red Lodge. The lawsuit also alleges that the officer’s conduct was “sanctioned and promoted by” the city and the police department.
  • New York, New York: A couple was arrested, and put in jail, for dancing on a subway platform. They were in jail for 23 hours before they were released without charge. The couple is now suing the city.
  • Update: Dallas, Texas: Police Officer Kelly Schumpert has been fired for driving while under the influence of alcohol.

‘Not in the Face’

From the Los Angeles Times:

The Los Angeles County sheriff’s captain who ran the Men’s Central Jail fostered a culture of brutality by protecting dishonest deputies and permitting his underlings to use excessive force on inmates, his former lieutenant alleged in testimony Friday.

Capt. Daniel Cruz even joked at the department’s annual Christmas party about hitting inmates, according to Michael Bornman, who is now a department captain. While toasting deputies at the party, Cruz allegedly asked a banquet hall-full of jailers: “What do I always tell you guys?”

In unison, Bornman said, the jail deputies — many of whom were laughing — responded “Not in the face.”

“That’s right,” Cruz replied, according to Bornman. “Not in the face.” Bornman said the slogan was an instruction to strike inmates on parts of the body where their blows wouldn’t leave marks.


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-06-12

Here are the 11 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, July 6th, 2012:

  • Houlton, ME: A 24 year veteran police officer was accused of operating her state police cruiser while under the influence of alcohol. She was issued a summons after she failed her field sobriety and BAC tests.
  • Update: Providence, Rhode Island: Police Col. John Whiting was found guilty of larceny and solicitation to receive stolen goods, after he stole $714 from a stripper’s pocketbook. He will be sentenced September 14th.
  • Atlanta, Georgia: Teresa Culpepper spent 53 days in jail because the police mistook her for another woman. “All she has is the same first name. The only descriptions that match are ‘Teresa’ and ‘black female,'” said her attorney. “I just don’t think in another side of town this would have ever happened.”
  • Salem, Massachusetts: A police officer was arraigned and charged with raping the woman watching his children. He pleaded not guilty, and has been place on administrative leave. “The Salem Police Department takes any allegation against a member of the department very seriously,” said Salem Police Chief Paul Tucker.
  • Hamilton County, Tennessee: A sheriff’s deputy was arrested after she was accused of attempting to pass a fake prescription in a Walgreen’s. She has previously been arrested after assaulting her husband.
  • Duchesne, Utah: A female member of the Ute Indian Tribe has filed a one million dollar lawsuit accusing a sheriff’s deputy of groping her at a traffic stop. “We’re pretty frustrated about this,” said the Sheriff, Travis Mitchell. “We’ve got a situation that happened nine months ago that we had no clue about. If our officers were doing something wrong, we’d want to investigate it. We’d have an independent investigation done.”
  • Bakersfield, California: A sheriff’s deputy was arrested for spousal abuse. This officer was involved in a crash that killed another deputy in 2008, and he was also previously arrested for domestic violence in 2009.
  • Clayton County, GA: Deshawn Balka is filing suit against the county and the sheriff after she gave birth to her baby in jail and he died. She says she called out for help for three hours while giving birth in her cell, and that jail staff arrived 5-10 minutes after the baby was delivered into the toilet.
  • Las Vegas, NV: A group of Nevada Highway Patrol Troopers and a retired police sergeant filed a racketeering complaint against the NHP and Las Vegas Metro Police. The suit alleges that the K9 program was being manipulated so that illegal searches and seizures could be conducted for financial benefit.
  • Georgetown, DE: A deputy sheriff was fired for falsifying records, abusing county equipment, and requesting $6000 worth of overtime over a 10 month period.
  • Eric, CO: A woman filed suit against the police officer who shot and killed her dog. The officer said the dog charged him, while the woman’s lawyer says that there are witnesses that will back up the owner’s statements: “Ava was a sweet dog who was well-known in the neighborhood for being well-behaved.”

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