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National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 01-17-13

Here are the 7 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, January 17, 2013:

  • Blakely, Georgia: A former state trooper has been indicted for stealing marijuana from the evidence locker, and then giving it to teenage girls. He is charged with theft by a government employee, distribution of marijuana, and violation of oath of office.
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee: A lawsuit seeking $50 million in damages names two officers, the city, and Erlanger Health Systems after an inmate sustained a compound fracture and other injuries from a beating from officers.
  • Peekskill, New York: After a 4-year investigation into organized crime’s influence on the carting industry in, a 20-year-veteran is facing two extortion charges. He, and two others, is accused of forcing a trash hauler to turn over his business to them. All in all 32 people were indicted on federal charges.
  • Boston, Massachusetts: A veteran police officer, who has been suspended in the past for a domestic altercation, pleaded not guilty to charges of raping and indecently assaulting a woman, officials said.
  • Margate, Florida: A rookie police officer has been fired for carrying guns while “extremely intoxicated” at a Fort Lauderdale nightclub. He was carrying two loaded firearms, and one of them was his police weapon. He also had three additional magazines with rounds, and a pocket knife.
  • Chatham Borough, New Jersey: A police detective has been charged with drunken driving after he drove his vehicle off the road, crashed through a concrete wall, and came to rest on top of a large rock.
  • Kentwood, Louisiana: A police chief was arrested and booked with malfeasance of officer and obstruction of justice after there was an investigation into missing evidence. Investigators concluded that he had intentionally tampered with the evidence.

The Aaron Swartz Case

There is much buzz surrounding the recent suicide of Aaron Swartz–and whether prosecutorial abuse by Carmen Ortiz played a part.

Glenn Greenwald:

Whenever an avoidable tragedy occurs, it’s common for there to be an intense spate of anger in its immediate aftermath which quickly dissipates as people move on to the next outrage. That’s a key dynamic that enables people in positions of authority to evade consequences for their bad acts. But as more facts emerge regarding the conduct of the federal prosecutors in the case of Aaron Swartz – Massachusetts’ US attorney Carmen Ortiz and assistant US attorney Stephen Heymann – the opposite seems to be taking place: there is greater and greater momentum for real investigations, accountability and reform. It is urgent that this opportunity not be squandered, that this interest be sustained.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that – two days before the 26-year-old activist killed himself on Friday – federal prosecutors again rejected a plea bargain offer from Swartz’s lawyers that would have kept him out of prison. They instead demanded that he “would need to plead guilty to every count” and made clear that “the government would insist on prison time”. That made a trial on all 15 felony counts – with the threat of a lengthy prison sentence if convicted – a virtual inevitability.

Just three months ago, Ortiz’s office, as TechDirt reported, severely escalated the already-excessive four-felony-count indictment by adding nine new felony counts, each of which “carrie[d] the possibility of a fine and imprisonment of up to 10-20 years per felony”, meaning “the sentence could conceivably total 50+ years and [a] fine in the area of $4 million.” That meant, as Think Progress documented, that Swartz faced “a more severe prison term than killers, slave dealers and bank robbers”.

Swartz’s girlfriend, Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, told the WSJ that the case had drained all of his money and he could not afford to pay for a trial. At Swartz’s funeral in Chicago on Tuesday, his father flatly stated that his son “was killed by the government”.

More background from Radley Balko and Declan McCullagh.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 01-16-13

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, January 15, 2013:

  • Frederick County, Maryland: A family is suing the Maryland State Police after a woman died in her home after a confrontation with a state trooper.
  • Update: Washington, DC: A District Court judge ordered a veteran police officer to remain jailed after a second woman came forward to say he had sexually assaulted her when she was a teenager singing in a church choir he directed. The judge called him a “danger” who targeted adolescent girls. The hearing was for a charge that he repeatedly sexually abused a girl, beginning when she was 11 years old and lasting nearly three years.
  • New Milford, Connecticut: A former police officer who was fired in 2011 following an internal investigation of his conduct in an off-duty case has been allowed to retire and receive related payments from the town. He is said to have attempted to extort money from a teenager, and threatened him. He was sentenced to six months incarceration, suspended, and received a two year conditional discharge.
  • St. Paul, Minnesota: An officer illegally fired a weapon in the back yard of his home, according to charges filed in court. Police “challenged the defendant’s story that the rounds were blank,” the complaint said. The officer then admitted he had fired live rounds from a handgun.
  • Update: Deptford Township, New Jersey: The officer charged with murder has been suspended from the municipal police force without pay. The officer shot a man in the head in his home, and the man died.
  • German Township, Ohio: A police officer will have to surrender his peace officer certification after he took a plea agreement. He was accused of raping a 19-year-old woman. The alleged incident occurred at a party; the victim, who said she had been drinking, said she was being assisted by two juveniles when the officer took her upstairs and sexually assaulted her, according to the initial report.
  • Prince George’s County, Maryland: The officer accused of selling and giving away guns he had seized from criminals was found guilty of theft and misconduct in office. He was ordered directly to jail after a jury reached guilty verdicts on all counts against him in less than two hours of deliberation.
  • Update: Edmonds, Washington: An officer, who is facing criminal prosecution for allegedly having sex with a woman he detained, resigned upon learning he could be fired for the incident.
  • Abbeville County,  South Carolina: A sheriff who was under scrutiny because of a sex tape was indicted by the State Grand Jury after being accused of taking kickbacks.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 01-15-13

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, January 15, 2013:

  • Saratoga Springs, New York: A man who was injured outside a sports pub by an off-duty officer plans to sue him and the city. The officer has resigned his position and the misdemeanor assault charge against him will be dismissed in six months if he complies with City Court conditions.
  • Update: Orlando, Florida: A police officer who has been accused of raping a woman while on duty formally entered a not-guilty plea.
  • Lewiston, Idaho: A sheriff’s deputy has pleaded guilty to felony sexual battery for a sexual relationship he had with a 16-year-old girl. He was put on paid administrative leave when the charges were filed.
  • Harris County, Texas: A now-fired sheriff’s deputy faces federal charges for allegedly aiding in the delivery of the drug ecstasy. “Every single one of the employees at the HCSO is expected to obey the law and play by the rules. If an employee becomes involved in criminal behavior then they should know that we will do everything in our power to make sure we find them the jail cell they deserve,” said the Sheriff.
  • Henderson, Nevada: A police sergeant was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence.
  • Chester County, Pennsylvania: An officer has been accused of slapping his wife and beginning to strangle her before she broke free and hid. He was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and related charges.
  • Jacksonville, North Carolina: A deputy resigned after state prosecutors pressed charges. Deputies say he was “doctor shopping,” which means he was going around to different doctors getting prescriptions he didn’t need.
  • Wheeler, Wisconsin: A former police chief will spend 14 years in prison for committing numerous sex-related crimes. He was charged with 16 felony counts, half of which were the sexual assaults of children by those who work with youngsters. His other charges included child enticement, and exposing children to harmful materials.
  • Washington, DC: An officer involved in paternity dispute with his mistress shot her dead, and left their infant child to die in a hot car. He is being tried on two counts of first-degree murder along with child abuse and firearms charges.
  • Burlington, Vermont: A state trooper took responsibility for stealing more that $200,000 from taxpayers over the past six years.

Show ‘COPS’ – 25 Years on TV

From the American Conservative:

The show “COPS” is celebrating its 25th season on television, the opening strains of its signature opener as familiar as the images of mascara-stained prostitutes, half-naked wife beaters, and obscured faces of a thousand different men, planted in the asphalt by the boot of Johnny Law himself.

After all these years, the gratuitous flash of  “viewer discretion advised,” followed by the COPS trademark and the peal of sirens, still marks a half hour of testosterone-fueled, fast food entertainment, or a prompt to quickly change the channel, depending on who’s on the other side of the remote control.

For teenagers, voyeurs, and red-blooded law-and-order types who’ve made this show one of the longest running in American history, the pioneer cinéma vérité format ratifies the correct order of things—beginning smartly with heroes and villains, and ending with the crank of handcuffs and the door of a squad car slamming on another case, closed. …

“What disturbs me is that the audience is led to believe that they’re getting a fair peek at ‘real policing,’ but they don’t realize they’re seeing a distorted picture,” said Tim Lynch, director of the Cato Institute’s Project on Criminal Justice, who guesses among the throwaways are “awful mistakes, incompetence, or misconduct.”

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 01-12-13 to 01-14-13

Here are the 11 reports of police misconduct tracked for Satruday, January 12 to Monday, January 14, 2013:

  • Franklin County, Virginia: The sheriff’s deputy who publicly fatally shot and killed his ex-wife pleaded no contest to first-degree murder. He arrived at the scene in the in a police cruiser, and prosecutors say the shooting was captured on the dashboard camera.
  • Update: Chicago, Illinois: An officer was sentenced to 19 years in prison for stealing drugs, cash and guns for the Latin Kings street gang – often, while on duty.
  • Los Angeles, California: A Los Angeles County Captain will resign amid allegations by a deputy who says she was a victim of sexual misconduct. He denies the allegations.
  • Mayflower, Arkansas: The former police chief can no longer be a law enforcement officer in Arkansas, and he faces a charge of tampering with public records.
  • Seattle, Washington: An officer in under investigation for alleged excessive force. A video shows he made threatening moves to a handcuffed man.
  • Jennings, Louisiana: The former police chief is under arrest, and has been accused of stealing items from the department’s evidence room. He is now facing charges of theft, malfeasance in office, obstruction of justice, and injuring public records.
  • Harrison County, Missouri: A Sheriff’s Department deputy was arrested on charges of aggravated assault after being accused of choking his wife. He was dressed in his uniform and duty belt at the time of the assault and pointed his service weapon at her before leaving the scene of the assault, according to the release.
  • Murray County, Oklahoma: A sheriff’s deputy pleaded guilty to charges of deprivation of rights for using unreasonable force and violating the civil rights of an individual who was being booked into jail.
  • Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana: A sheriff’s deputy was arrested and fired. He has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman he arrested. The Police Crime Lab conducted tests and determined that the officer’s DNA was recovered from the victim.
  • Jefferson County, West Virginia: The sheriff was charged with violating suspect’s civil rights, and has since resigned. The sheriff is accused of kicking and stomping on a suspect after a police chase, and falsifying records during the subsequent investigation.
  • Camden County, New Jersey: A judge has sentenced a former police officer for leaving the scene of a hit-and-run crash. She hit a man with her car, and didn’t report it until 14 hours later. The victim suffered serious injuries, and had to re-learn how to walk.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 01-11-13

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, January 11, 2013:

  • Update: Creve Coeur, Missouri: An officer has left his job in the wake of his arrest for allegedly beating, choking and kicking two high school students while off-duty.
  • Corona, California: An officer has been accused of failing to tell her supervisors about the allegations that a 13-year-old boy was being physically and mentally abused by a pastor and two other men.
  • Update: Honolulu, Hawaii: An officer has been sentenced to 4 months in jail for lying to FBI agents about revealing the name and identity of an undercover police officer, the description of an undercover police vehicle, and information and techniques for identifying and eluding police surveillance.
  • Portland, Oregon: A couple has filed a lawsuit against the Portland Police Bureau, saying five officers unlawfully entered their apartment while they were sleeping, tased the man, and forced the woman to stand in her underwear during a search. Police went onto the couple’s balcony and shined lights into the apartment, where the couple was sleeping. After an hour on scene, police decided to enter the apartment through an unlocked front door. “The police said they could enter the home to investigate a possible emergency, not a crime. The heart of this lawsuit is after the police found the couple in bed, they knew that there was no emergency. They should have left the home Instead they turned it into a confrontation and escalated the violence until they had total control.”
  • Update: Salt Lake City, Utah: A trooper who was handing out false DUIs has been fired. There is a lawsuit pending against her as well.
  • Boulder, Colorado: An officer who has been suspended over his role in the killing and disposal of an elk called in sick the night of the shooting and operates a website advertising taxidermy. He, and one other officer, is now a part of a criminal investigation. The other officer shot the elk while on duty.
  • Washington, DC: An officer is now on probation. He has already served 14 months in jail for shooting at a car full of transgender prostitutes who refused to pick him up.
  • Battle Creek, Michigan: An officer will face only one misdemeanor charge after allegedly driving drunk and speeding when his car slammed into mailboxes and signs. Officers on the scene did not draw blood or have the officer perform field sobriety tests, which made it more difficult to charge him with being “super drunk,” which carries more severe penalties.
  • Washington, DC: A woman filed a $6 million civil lawsuit against a D.C. police officer and the D.C. government. Her lawyer filed the suit claiming an officer raped her on several occasions.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 01-10-13

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, January 10, 2013:

  • Winston Salem, North Carolina: A police officer was arrested and charged a second time with assaulting his girlfriend. He has been accused of pushing and threatening to kill her.
  • Depew, Oklahoma: A police officer is in jail on complaints of first-degree burglary and assault with intent to commit a felony.
  • Collierville, Tennessee: A police officer has been suspended without pay after he was charged with domestic violence in connection with an argument at his home. His wife sustained bruises on her body from the incident.
  • Update: Snohomish County, Washington: A sheriff’s deputy was fired in connection with a pending criminal case against him. He was charged with second-degree burglary, third degree theft, and third degree malicious mischief.
  • King County, Washington: The County agreed to pay $75,000 to a man who alleged that a deputy used excessive force during an incident. The man suffered a broken nose during the confrontation.
  • Denver, Colorado: An off-duty patrol officer allegedly caused a rollover crash, and was subsequently charged with drunken driving. The officer is still on the job, but not on the streets, while the incident is investigated.
  • Springfield, Massachusetts: An officer was charged with criminal mischief, breach of peace, threatening and reckless endangerment after she allegedly attacked an acquaintance’s car.
  • Las Vegas, Nevada: An officer fatally shot a family pit bull. The owner says that police never knocked on the door to tell his family they would be opening the gate and entering the backyard. “We’re on our property. Our dog should be free to roam wherever he wants in the backyard,” he said.
  • Washington, DC: An officer was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a girl while he was a church choir director. He was charged with first-degree child sexual abuse.
  • Marine City, Michigan: A high school student is still in recovery after a police officer hit him in a head-on collision. The officer’s Blood Alcohol Content was twice the legal limit. “There were witnesses that were behind the driver – they had been on the phone with 911. They had been following him. He was all over the road,” said the teen’s father.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 01-09-13

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, January 9, 2013:

  • Pauls Valley, Oklahoma: A pregnant woman, Jamie Lynn Russell, who went to the hospital, has died after police took her to jail. “Jamie was seeking help; she was in extreme pain,” a family friend said. Hospital staff reported Jamie wouldn’t cooperate, in too much pain to even lie down, so employees asked a police officer to assist. When police found two prescription pills that didn’t belong to Jamie, police took her to jail for drug possession. That’s where she sat for less than two hours before being found unresponsive.
  • Chatsworth, Georgia: A deputy has been indicted by a federal grand jury for lying to federal agents and concealing information in order to impede an FBI investigation.
  • Lake County, Florida: An officer admitted that he used an agency credit card to purchase a laptop for his 16-year-old son and then paid the bill with the department’s investigative funds. He has since resigned from his post.
  • Little Canada, Minnesota: A man was charged with obstruction of legal process and disorderly conduct after he filmed officers from more than 30 feet away. “I wish the police around the country would get the memo on these situations,” said a professor of media ethics and media law at the University of Minnesota. “Somebody needs to explain to them that under U.S. law, making video recordings of something that’s happening in public is legal.” The courts have been “pretty clear” on the issue, the professor said. “Law enforcement has no expectation of privacy when they are carrying out public duties in a public place.” Said the man who was charged: “I’m in the right. If they don’t drop it, I’m definitely going to trial.”
  • Macon County, North Carolina: A detective has been served with two misdemeanor criminal summonses; she allegedly made threats to a former high school basketball coach in person, and also threatened a student over Facebook. She was assigned to administrative duties, pending the outcome of the investigation.
  • Elko, Nevada: Despite facing the possibility of life in prison, an officer pleaded guilty to incest and will avoid a public trial and additional charges.
  • Pennsville, New Jersey: An officer admitted to destroying a computer hard drive while he was under investigation. He was allegedly in possession of child pornography. The incident is punishable by 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.
  • Elkton, Maryland: A state trooper was fired and charged for sexual solicitation of a minor for purposes of prostitution.
  • Trenton, New Jersey: An officer who was photographed in 2012 allegedly sleeping in his police car lost his gun in the police parking lot.

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