National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

The Problem with Prosecuting Police in Washington State

Recently, here in the state of Washington, King County prosecutors announced that they would not charge Seattle Police Officer Ian Birk for the shooting death of Native American woodcarver John T. Williams despite a police firearms review board deciding that the shooting was unjustified. In this case, prosecutors cited Washington State law which they say sets such a high bar against prosecuting police officers in such cases that they could not charge Birk even though his actions appeared negligent at best.

While most legal experts cited in the news confirmed that Washington’s laws, which require a nearly impossible burden of proving malicious intent to charge an officer who kills in the line of duty, could be a plausible reason for refusing to prosecute Birk. Other experts also cited how difficult it is in general to prosecute a police officer anywhere in the US for any reason, especially when the alleged criminal act occurred on duty. But this presents us with a question; could this be just a Washington problem or is this indicative of a much more systemic problem in the US?

The National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project has been gathering data including criminal cases against law enforcement officers for nearly two years, perhaps the answer to some of these questions resides within that data.

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To establish a baseline we can look to the latest data released by the US Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) which indicates that the conviction rate for members of the general public who were tried on criminal charges ranged around 68% from 2002 through 2006. Furthermore, the US BJS reports indicated that the incarceration rate remained fairly stable at an average of 70% and the average length of post-conviction incarceration for the general public was 49 months.

For a comparison we can use data from our National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project (NPMSRP) which tracked over 8,300 credible reports involving allegations of police misconduct in the US from April of 2009 through December 2010 which involved nearly 11,000 law enforcement officers within those 21 months. Of those reported allegations, only 3,238 resulted in criminal charges against law enforcement officers. Of those 3,238 criminal cases against law enforcement officers in the US, only 1,063 officers were ultimately convicted of those charges or reduced charges associated with the original allegations. Of the law enforcement officers who were ultimately convicted, 36% were ultimately sentenced to spend any time incarcerated and the average length of incarceration for those sentenced to prison or jail was approximately 34.6 months.

This would appear to indicate that there are disparities on a national scale between how law enforcement officers are treated in the criminal justice system since conviction and incarceration rates for law enforcement officers are nearly half that of the conviction and incarceration rates for the general public and, even when convicted, law enforcement officers spend 29% less time behind bars on average than the rest of the public.

The disparity becomes even more apparent when we focus only on excessive force cases. Of the 2,716 law enforcement officers involved in alleged incidents where use of force was questioned, only 197 were ultimately charged with a criminal offense and, of that 197, only 77 were convicted. Of even more relevance, for the 426 law enforcement officers who were accused of using excessive force in incidents where a fatality occurred, only 28 faced charges and half of those who were prosecuted ended up being convicted.

It is interesting that, even though the prosecution rates for non-fatal and fatal excessive force incidents are at an identical 7%, the conviction rate for fatal excessive force cases is 11% higher, at 50%, than the non-fatal excessive force conviction rate of 39%. As a comparison point, off-duty assault allegations result in criminal charges 55% of the time and end in a conviction 24% of the time. Off-duty murder allegations result in a prosecution rate of 71% and conviction rate of 45% which appears to indicate that on-duty violence is tolerated more than off-duty violence.

Oddly, this would give the appearance that it may be easier, not harder, to convict police officers accused of fatal use of excessive force, in fact the conviction rate for fatal excessive force cases was higher than any other type of case according to the data we’ve gathered (followed by murder at 45% and sexual offences at 41%). This would also appear to indicate that successfully prosecuting excessive force cases may not be as difficult as suggested since the conviction rates for these cases are actually higher than the overall average law enforcement conviction rate of 37%.

However, these numbers could also indicate that prosecutors are far more particular about what excessive force cases they pursue since the charge rates for both non-fatal and fatal excessive force cases are so much lower than any other type of case. In fact, there does appear to be an inverse relationship between prosecution and conviction rates when it comes to law enforcement officers (when excluding drug-related cases).

So, examining data on the national scale appears to present us with a mixed picture of how the justice system treats law enforcement officers. While it is clear that police are treated with much more leniency than the general public when facing criminal allegations, this still leaves the question of whether the laws themselves have some effect on this pattern.

When we examine the same data on a state-by-state basis the results give us a very interesting answer to this question. To demonstrate, here are the five states with the lowest prosecution rates for law enforcement officers in the US (AVG 32%):

  1. Washington DC        05%
  2. Washington        16%
  3. Vermont        18%
  4. West Virginia        20%
  5. Oregon            20%

And here are the five states with the worst law enforcement conviction rates (AVG 37%):

  1. Alaska            14%
  2. Washington        17%
  3. Connecticut        18%
  4. Colorado        19%
  5. Georgia            19%
  6. New Mexico        19%

Notice how Washington resides near the top of both lists. In fact, for the 21 months of the sample period, Washington state police officers were implicated in 186 alleged incidents of misconduct but only 30 cases resulted in criminal charges and, of that 30, only 5 were ultimately convicted of a criminal act. Of those 5, none were sentenced to any prison or jail time.

Also, of the five convictions in Washington, none involved excessive force and two occurred during the course of the officer’s duties:

  • A Washington State Trooper was convicted on a custodial sexual misconduct charge for groping a woman in a cruiser.
  • A Medical Lake police officer was sentenced to probation in a plea deal in a sexual harassment case.
  • A Wahkiakum County deputy pled guilty to a disorderly conduct charge which was reduced from the original domestic violence charge.
  • A Seattle police officer was convicted in Grays Harbor County for driving under the influence in a case where he was accused of asking for some professional courtesy when he was arrested.
  • A Kitsap County deputy received a diversionary sentence for a DUI charge.

Four of the incidents which resulted in criminal charges for law enforcement officers involved allegations of excessive force and two of those involved fatalities. One of those cases, an Everett Washington police officer charged with manslaughter for fatally shooting an unarmed man in a parking lot, resulted in a not-guilty verdict during a jury trial. This brings us to consider the possible reasons for the apparent difficulties in holding police officers accountable before the law in Washington State.

When we examine the history of law enforcement officers who were prosecuted for excessive use of force in Washington in recent history here is what we find:

  • In December of 2008, US Attorneys failed to convict King County deputy Brian Bonnar on allegations that he dropped a knee on a restrained woman’s head and slammed her head into a cruiser fender after she was compliant, despite testimony from a number of other deputies that supported the prosecution’s case.
  • In March of 2009, King County prosecutors failed to convict King County deputy Don Griffee despite testimony from fellow deputies that supported allegations that Griffee had punched a cuffed man detained on false allegations in his cruiser.
  • In April of 2009, the Spokane Washington prosecutor refused to charge a Spokane County Sheriff’s Sergeant over allegations he was peeping into a teen girl’s window and resisted responding officers despite sufficient evidence. The prosecutor, in an alleged conversation with a sheriff’s lieutenant, claimed that “he felt their job was to go after criminals and not law enforcement officers demonstrating a temporary lapse in judgment.”
  • In August of 2009, a Spokane Washington jury found Sponake police officer Jay Olsen not guilt of assault and reckless endangerment charges for shooting an unarmed man in the back of the head outside of a bar while off-duty.
  • In September 2009, a Spokane Washington jury refused to convict Spokane Police Officer Rob Boothe on allegations he kicked a handcuffed suspect in the face despite testimony from two fellow officers who claimed they saw him kick the prone man.
  • In April of 2010, a Snohomish County jury acquitted Everett Washington police officer Troy Meade of second degree murder and/or first degree manslaughter for shooting an unarmed man to death in a parking lot after tasering him while he was intoxicated behind the wheel of his car but blocked in by police cars and a fence. The verdict was reached despite the testimony of a fellow police officer who claimed that the use of fatal force was unnecessary and that he heard Officer Meade remark “enough is enough, time to end this” before opening fire.
  • In July of 2010, after failing on two occasions to successfully prosecute King County Deputy Paul Schene on a misdemeanor assault charge for beating a 15-year-old girl in a holding cell, prosecutors dropped all charges. The trial and retrial resulted in hung juries both times despite the existence of videotape showing the assault.

In each of these cases juries discounted or ignored the testimony of police officers against the accused and/or video evidence supporting the charges. Additionally, since the specific law cited in the Williams case doesn’t apply to most of these cases it appears as though there are other factors affecting the conviction rate against law enforcement officers in the state of Washington.

What does this mean?

An examination of the numbers indicates that, while law enforcement officers generally enjoy favorable treatment when facing criminal charges in the US generally, the problem appears significantly pronounced in Washington State. When we examine the data in combination with the history of criminal cases involving police officers in Washington it begins to appear as though the reason why police officers are so infrequently prosecuted is a combination of laws that prevent officers from being held accountable, juries who consistently refuse to convict police officers accused of criminal acts even when there is compelling testimony and evidence in favor of conviction, and prosecutors who appear risk averse when it comes to the prospects of prosecuting police officers for any reason.

It also becomes clear that, while it is generally difficult to prosecute law enforcement officers in the US in general, the ability to do so in Washington State is greatly hampered by a perfect storm of all these factors combined together in a way that forms a feedback loop of sorts which discourages prosecutors from prosecuting police officers with the same vigor as other members of the general population.

Because of this complex dynamic at play, bringing the prosecution and conviction rates back towards the norm in Washington would require more than just changing the law, it would also require a sea change of public perception, better training for prosecutors who need to use  tactics than usual when prosecuting officer-involved cases against lawyers who specialize in defending police officers along with efforts to provide incentives to prosecutors who decide whether prosecuting a cop is worth the political risk of angering police unions that represent the officers they depend upon to do their jobs.

Certainly Washington State’s problems with police accountability are not unique to this state, yet they do appear to be far more exaggerated than in any other state. Thus it will take far more than simple fixes to address these problems and the first step must involve convincing the public that such changes need to be made and that holding law enforcement officers to the same standards we are all held to is vital to maintaining a sustainable criminal justice system.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-25-11

Sorry these are a little late, but here are the 18 reports of police misconduct tracked in our National Police Misconduct News Feed for this Friday, February 25, 2011:

  • More Seattle WA police officers are supposedly under investigation after yet another video surfaced moths after an October incident which show some highly questionable use of force, all of which occurred on a single night. There were already 3 videos showing just one cop using force on three different people, two of which were acquitted of charges against them and one was never charged. The above video is a montage of all four videos involving that single event courtesy of KOMO 4 in Seattle. [5]

  • Then there’s this one out of Toronto ON showing a police officer repeatedly punch a man who is on the ground, that man is now trying to get the charges against him stayed since he claims the video clearly shows officers were using excessive force against him during arrest. Toronto police claim they are now looking into the case. [3]
  • Atlanta GA police officers are the subject of a suit filed by a man claiming he suffered a stroke after he landed on his head when cops yanked him from car under suspicion of drunk driving. However, tests at the hospital showed that the man had no alcohol or drugs in his system so charges were dropped… leaving one to wonder why cops yanked him out of the car. [3]

  • Ottawa ON police officers are under investigation after a YouTube video got out showing an officer repeatedly punching a man during arrest. [2]
  • Cary NC police are accused of using excessive force on a hostage when they threw him to ground and injured him when he was released by his kidnappers during a standoff… he claims that police didn’t do that to the other hostages. [3]
  • 2 Newark NJ cops are sued alleging they falsely arrested man walking to his car for refusing to show his registration and insurance, even though they had no cause to ask for those things. [3]
  • The sheriff of Roanoke VA is being summoned to court to explain why she refuses to release the names of deputies being sued for allegedly beating a man in jail and why she won’t release any investigative files.[4]
  • The San Francisco CA police are sued by man who suffered a severe arm fracture when cops kicked him out of theater while claiming he was drunk, but never charged him. [4]
  • A Washington DC police detective gets probation for putting man in a chokehold while off-duty in a dispute over a parking spot then fleeing from cops as they arrived. [0]
  • A Montgomery AL police officer has been indicted for allegedly using police database to steal identities in order to get himself some credit cards. [0]
  • A Mitchell SD cop has certification revoked, a Tea SD cop resigned and a Centerville SD cop was suspended for shooting road signs while driving under the influence. [2]
  • The Vidalia LA police chief was sentenced to 6 months prison after admitting that he lied to fed agents about selling a fully-automatic machine gun. [0]

Just a reminder, we still really need donations in order to get through the next couple weeks until my pay starts kicking in from my new job, any help is greatly appreciated!

Thank you, and as always, stay safe out there!

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-24-11

Here are the 25 reports of police misconduct tracked in our National Police Misconduct News Feed for this Thursday, February 24, 2011:

This first one is complicated, so stick with me here…

  • A Seattle Washington undercover police officer who was caught on surveillance video kicking a surrendering teen in the crotch then kicking him some more after he fell to the floor…

    …and then was caught on cell phone video footage punching a man outside that store for trying to record what was happening…

    …was apparently also caught on dashcam video, released today, stomping on a man’s head while he was being detained by police after those first two attacks…

    …while the officer shown in these videos is still the subject of a criminal investigation but hasn’t been charged, the two men shown being arrested in these videos were acquitted of the crimes they were charged with today as well.
  • Denver CO is being sued by the family of a man who died after tasered and subjected to a choke hold in jail but lawyers for the family say the suit is about more than just that one death but about the pattern and practice of police brutality in that city and the unwillingness of that city to hold officers accountable for it. [4]
  • A San Antonio Park TX cop was sentenced to 4yrs prison in a plea deal after giving a 14yr-old girl he repeatedly molested an STD. [0]
  • The Inman KS police chief was sentenced to 2 consecutive life terms plus 5 years for sex crimes involving 4 kids ranging from 10 to 15 years old in age. [0]
  • A now former Laurel DE cop who was already convicted of an on-duty sexual assault is now accused of another that allegedly occured in 2004. [0]
  • An El Paso TX police officer was arrested on sexual assault charges involving an on duty incident while he and his partner were responding to a family violence call. [0]
  • The Kern County CA sheriff’s dept settled a class action suit for $7mil to detainees who were strip searched in groups in front of each other and who were strip and cavity search after they were ordered to be released. [0]
  • A Cherokee OK cop was arrested on multiple charges alleging he coerced a woman into sex while on duty & ignored a call while doing so. Apparently he recorded the whole thing. [0]
  • Albuquerque NM settled a lawsuit for $230,000 to the estate of a woman over allegations that police officers tampered with a crime scene, as documented by deputies at the scene, where a fellow officer, who was her husband, was suspected of murdering her.
  • A Sallisaw OK cop was arrested on multiple charges for falsely claiming man who accused him of cattle rustling had shot him when he actually shot himself. [0]
  • Weare NH police have charged a man with felony wiretapping for recording a cop by calling voicemail service during traffic stop [5]
  • An Atlanta GA police officer is the subject of a criminal investigation on allegations he stole $2k from a diplomat’s bag at the airport [0]
  • A Houston TX police officer is the subject of a federal probe while two pain clinics he owns are shut on allegations they were “pill mills” [0]
  • A Montgomery AL cop pled guilty to theft charges for stealing from at least 4 Hispanic motorists during traffic stops. [0]
  • Concord CA settles suit for $47k to a cop claiming he was retaliated against for siding with sexual harassment victims who sued the department. [0]
  • A Newark NJ cop was arrested on bank fraud charges for allegedly conspiring with bank employee to secure a fraudulent $1.9mil loan [0]
  • 2 Horry County SC cops got suspended sentences in a plea deal on theft charges for claiming pay for special shifts they never worked [0]
  • A Commerce GA cop was charged with invasion of privacy via use of computer for running tags on the state police database for personal use [0]
  • The Fresno CA police chief is being sued by 2 deputy chiefs alleging he makes demeaning remarks about minority & female officers [2]
  • And finally, an Ottawa ON cop was docked 48hrs worth of pay for harassing an ex-girlfriend cop via text messages & a coded message on a bedsheet [0]

That’s it for today, stay safe out there!

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-23-11

A quick note before today’s reports. Starting today the reports will mostly be in short format, meaning they will largely be just a dump straight from the news feed with minimal commentary and minor corrections. If you’re curious as to why I’ll elaborate at the bottom of this post.

Here are the 22 reports of police misconduct tracked in our National Police Misconduct News Feed for this Wednesday, February 23, 2011:

  • Philadelphia PA cops are being accused of using excessive force by witnesses who say they beat an assault victim with batons even though the man did nothing wrong and wasn’t resisting. [3]
  • The Loganville GA asst police chief is facing a grand jury probe into allegations that he and other officers beat a man who called police for help when he discovered his step-son when he hung himself in the garage. [3]
  • A Lubbock TX police officer who was already charged with sexual assault of a child is now facing additional charges after accused of sexually assaulting an adult as well. [0]

  • A Dallas TX police officer is on administrative leave while facing has been fired and arrested on assault and official oppression charges for kicking, punching, macing and beating a man with a flashlight on dashcam video (shown above) during a traffic stop. Fellow officers reported him and said he was so out of control and angry that they had to intervene. [0]
  • A Hennessey OK police officer was arrested on child sexual abuse charge involving a girl under the age of 14. Officials say other charges are possible. [0]
  • 4 Sacramento County CA deputies are the subject of a lawsuit after jail video showed them throwing a detainee face down into raw sewage that was flooding the floor of his jail cell, apparently just because he tried to tell them about it. [3]
  • 2 New York NY cops are accused of using excessive force when they arrested a 19yr-old for riding a bicycle on a sidewalk but the video seems to show that they didn’t get forceful with him until he talked back. [3]
  • The Smith County TX sheriff’s dept is being sued by a man alleging his 4th & 14th Amendment rights were violated when he was jailed for 225 days without any official charges. [3]
  • A Philadelphia PA police officer allegedly entered the wrong home during a raid operation then shot a dog to death inside that home after claiming the dog attacked him. [1]
  • An Austin TX cop was indicted on 2 official oppression charges, 1 for peeping into woman’s window and the other for an illegal search. [2]
  • 2 Memphis TN police officers pled guilty to extortion, bribery & conspiracy charges for tipping off a nightclub to impending investigations in exchange for payoffs [0]
  • The FBI is being sued by civil rights groups on allegations that they used a paid informant to indiscriminately spy on Muslims [3]

  • 2 Michigan State police lieutenants face several racketeering charges for running criminal enterprise within the narcotics department they worked in by abusing that state’s forfeiture laws. [0]
  • A Cleveland OH cop faces disciplinary action after failing drug test for steroid use. [0]
  • A Houston TX cop was sentenced to probation, fine and must pay restitution for stealing funds from police union while he was secretary there. [0]
  • A Bartlesville OK cop received a deferred sentence in a plea deal for theft by false pretense involving the purchase of an M16 rifle he bought for $500 by using his police credentials when it actually cost over $8,000. [0]
  • A New Milford CT police lieutenant has announced his intent to retire after he was suspended with pay while the subject of of an unspecified internal investigation. [2]
  • An El Paso TX cop is being investigated after someone photographed him with an unrestrained child in his patrol car while he was making a traffic stop. [0]
  • An Idaho State trooper has been sentenced to 6 months of probation for poaching a moose. He was apparently caught after bringing the carcas to a taxidermist who then reported him. [0]
  • And finally, a Trenton NJ police officer has been suspended without pay while investigated for losing his firearm under unknown circumstances and officials are playing it off as if something very serious happened, even suggesting it may result in him being fired. This makes me think either there’s more to it than just a lost firearm, which was recovered, or officials are being overly-dramatic about it. [2]

Well, there was some good news for once today. I managed to win a 3-month contract job and it starts today (being Thursday). It’s at a lower rate than what I’ve worked for the last 6 years, but I think it will be manageable. Furthermore, it pays once a week so that will help us bridge the gap. What’s more, it gives us a little bit of room to try and bargain with our landlord to see if we can avoid eviction while working to repay the rent we owe. Even if we can’t reach an agreement then we at least have a buffer to find temporary housing or a motel room of some sort.

The problem is it’s on-site work so I’m not sure how well I’ll be able to manage the news feed. I have several feeds and alerts set up so, in the worst case, I think it will just mean the feed won’t update as often, but it should still be good at tracking events per day. Still, any help in tracking reports is appreciated so if you see a story you think we missed, definitely drop us a message about it!

It’s been a rough time of it lately, so hopefully this is a sign that things will get better for us soon, and for the project as well. Thank you all for your support, without which we wouldn’t have survived nearly this long!

Thank you, and as always, stay safe out there!

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-22-11

Here are the 24 reports of police misconduct tracked in our National Police Misconduct News Feed for this Tuesday, February 22, 2011:

  • A Boscawen NH police officer is the subject of a lawsuit alleging he used excessive force when he slammed a man’s face into a wall then into his patrol car’s fender, knocking him unconscious, while transfering him to jail. The officer claims the man was kicking and pretty much fell but the man’s lawyer claims that video from the jail contradicts the officer’s account of what happened. [4]
  • The Pennsylvania state police are being sued by a man who was shot by a trooper after a car chase. Dashcam footage recorded during the chase captured one trooper saying he wanted to “tune up” the man they were chasing. [0]
  • An Anchorage AK police officer has been convicted on 18 of 20 sexual assault and official misconduct charges for raping 6 women while he was on-duty. The jury didn’t convict him on two charges related to the alleged rape of a seventh woman. [0]
  • A Broussard LA police officer who was assigned to work as a school resource officer has been charged with 4 counts of molestation of juvenile and oral sexual battery of a 15-year-old girl. [0]
  • A Bullitt County KY jail deputy has been arrested on sexual abuse of a victim under 12 and 1st degree sodomy charges over allegations that he sexually abused a girl from the time she was 11 until she turned 13. [0]
  • Two Forest Park IL police officers were found to have used excessive force in a $50,000 judgment given to a man who claimed officers beat him during arrest and then needlessly tasered while he was handcuffed inside a holding cell. [3]
  • San Bernardino CA has settled a lawsuit for $35,000 to a man shot three times in the leg by a police officer. The settlement agreement came after a civil jury verdict ruling it was excessive force. [0]
  • A Sallisaw OK police officer who was already charged with cattle rustling has been fired and is now accused of falsely claiming that his accuser shot him after he accidentally shot himself. [0]
  • A Houston TX police officer has been suspended while investigated for shooting two men while off duty at a bar where he says he saw the men and two others beating his friend and that the men attacked him after he identified himself as a police officer. For now, the investigation is focused on determining if he was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the shooting. Apparently, in an updated report released today, witnesses interviewed at the scene have contradicted the officer’s claims that one man claimed he had a gun as his justification for opening fire and there were no firearms found at the scene on any of the victims or their friends. [1]
  • The Charlotte NC police department and chief are the subject of two lawsuits alleging that the police chief knew that one of his officers had a history and pattern of abusing young women, including his 15-year-old girlfriend who filed a protection order against him, and had even personally intervened in two case to save that officer’s job before he went on to sexually assault at least seven women while on duty. [3]
  • An Oviedo FL police officer is on administrative leave after accidentally shooting a fellow officer’s radio while they were arresting a DV suspect. [0]
  • An Appling County GA deputy sheriff has been charged for being an accessory after the fact to a drug crime for his actions that allegedly hindered a drug case that he did in exchange for cash. [0]
  • A Harahan LA police officer is facing federal charges for the misuse of grant money and is apparently cooperating with the ongoing investigation into that department. [1]
  • The Indianapolis IN police are being sued by a woman who was badly injured in a crash with a suspect during a high-speed chase. She claims that the pursuit, which was in a residential area, was overly reckless. [0]
  • An Irondequoit NY police officer, who is the son of the now-convicted former police chief of Greece NY, has been convicted of official misconduct, criminal falsification & computer trespass. [0]
  • A Tulsa OK police captain has been reassigned and is under investigation for refusing to ask his officers to attend an Islamic Society’s police appreciation day event because he doesn’t believe in Islam. [0]
  • A Murphy NC police officer has been arrested on assault charges in an alleged domestic violence incident involving his girlfriend. [0]
  • Four Manhattan Beach CA police officers have been fired for the cover up of a hit & run accident where alcohol use was suspected to be involved. One of the officers fired was the driver and was eventually charged with leaving the scene of an accident. [0]
  • The Utah State Police are refusing to elaborate on why a now-former trooper who was under investigation after shown on video punching a female motorist is no longer employed as a trooper. [3]
  • A Jersey City NJ police officer is under investigation after accused of speeding while off duty when he wrecked into 7 cars in an accident that left an 82yr-old woman dead. [0]
  • A Rhode Island state trooper was sentenced to community service and has been suspended for a year without pay after pleading to charges related to an alcohol-involved accident with another police officer. [0]
  • A Haywood County TN deputy who was recently rehired thanks to an arbitrator’s ruling after failing a drug test has now resigned after being arrested on drunk driving charges after he crashed into a car he was pulling over while on duty then got out and started yelling at the women in the car. [0]
  • And finally, an Omaha NE police sergeant has been arrested at a casino on public intoxication & disorderly conduct charges. Apparently he was being aggressive with security staff who were trying to determine if his wife was drunk when officer’s came and asked him to leave. He allegedly refused, at which point the police tried to arrest him but he allegedly resisted. After finally arresting him the officers found out he was a police officer, which is when he allegedly started demanding a little professional courtesy and told them he gave plenty of officers a pass and that they should do the same for him. [0]

Anyway, that’s it for today, stay safe out there!

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-21-11

Here are the 18 reports of police misconduct tracked in our National Police Misconduct News Feed for this Monday, February 21, 2011:

  • A lawsuit against the Suffolk County NY sheriff’s department revealed a disturbing recording of a call between a sheriff’s sergeant and a captain which appears to confirm claims made in the suit that a detainee died as a result of a brain injury sustained when a deputy slammed him to the ground. This despite the sheriff’s department claims that the man fell when he tried to throw a punch while in custody. [5]
  • A Texas state DPS trooper has been indicted on an aggravated assault by a peace officer charge on allegations that he beat a suspect after a high speed car chase which resulted in that man being hospitalized. [1]
  • A Macon GA police officer has resigned after being arrested on rape charges. He was arrested shortly after being interview by police on allegations that he sexually assaulted a 19-year-old woman while on duty.  [0]
  • A Jacksonville FL police officer was sentenced to three and a half years in prison as part of a plea deal to a sexual battery charge which dropped several other charges stemming from his sexual assault of a teen girl inside his home while his children slept. [0]
  • A Massachusetts state trooper has been found negligent to the tune of $15,000 by a jury decision for hitting a woman with his motorcycle during the Boston Marathon. Police initially tried to blame the woman and charged her over the incident but the jury didn’t award her for the false arrest allegation, just the accident. [0]
  • A Baltimore County MD deputy was arrested on multiple charges for allegedly pointing a gun at a motorcyclist during an alleged road rage incident. [0]
  • Lexington TX city officials are creating a review board to investigate allegations against that town’s police chief that including abuse of power, sexual harassment, and that he cheated on exams for officers. [3]
  • Albany NY police are investigating photographs that appear to show officers in uniform drinking while holding firearms. The pictures came out in the course of an officer’s domestic violence case that resulted in his acquital and the police union is demanding that someone be arrested… though not any of the cops shown in the photo. The union insists that whomever took the photo and whoever released it should be charged. [0]
  • Meanwhile, police unions in Arizona have begun the push for new state laws which will restrict how law enforcement agencies can investigate and discipline police officers as well as what information about disciplinary records can’t be shared with the public. [0]
  • A Jacksonville FL police officer was fined $1,000 and had his license suspended 6 months over an off duty accident in an unmarked cruiser that killed a motorcyclist. [0]
  • A Post Falls ID police officer was fired after pretending to fire his taser at a friend while he was responding to a call at a physical therapy office. [0]
  • A Toledo OH police officer who serves as the city council sgt-at-arms was arrested for disorderly conduct when police responded to a domestic dispute call and found him arguing with his wife in the middle of a road while their car blocked a lane. [0]
  • A Ventura Co CA deputy accidentally discharged his rifle insid his apartment and that round went into a neighboring apartment, slightly injuring a couple inside with flying glass from their sliding door. [0]
  • A Vermont State trooper is on leave while under investigation over unspecified sexual misconduct allegations made by a teen girl. [1]
  • A St Petersburg FL police officer has been suspended for 1 day on allegations that he was sending explicit text messages to a married woman while he was on duty and that he had sex in a public place after work. [0]
  • And finally, a LaFayette TN police officer has resigned after accused of lying to detectives during an internal investigation into allegations that he had sex in his patrol car. [0]

That’s it for today, stay safe out there!

Police Misconduct NewsFeed Weekend Recap 02-19-11 to 02-20-11

First, there’s a new feature we’re going to be adding shortly called “Ask A Cop” where our readers can ask a certified law enforcement officer questions about police misconduct, policies, accountability, internal investigation practices, and things of that nature. I’m hoping that it’ll go well and that most of our readers will refrain from using it as a way to vent at cops or about that bogus traffic ticket they got. I think it will be useful, hopefully you will too.

Anyway, with that said, here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked in our National Police Misconduct News Feed for this weekend, February 19-20, 2011:

  • After Lawrence Massachusetts spent $1,200,000 defending police officers in civil litigation in the last 3 years, city officials announced that they are ending their long-standing policy of paying for the legal defense for police officers and the police union is suing in response. The city is currently facing 9 more excessive force lawsuits against various police officers, including one former officer who is named in 5 of those 9 lawsuits.
  • While the New York NY police department has consistently refused to admit that arrest and summons qoutas exist within that department despite a series of damning reports and recordings made by police officers confirming the existence of those quotas, a jury may have settled the matter once and for all, opening the department up to waves of civil litigation as a result after it ruled that those quotas do exist and that they violated the civil rights of a woman who was injured when she was arrested while confronting cops arresting her son. That suit then settled for $75,000 afterward. Attorney Scott Greenfield has more on that story as well. [3]
  • A Boston MA police officer has been arrested on charges of assault and battery, malicious destruction of property, intimidation of a witness, and failure to secure a large capacity firearm after police were called to his apartment on a domestic violence complaint involving his wife.[0]
  • An Ottawa ON police officer has been sentenced to conditional discharge after pleading guilty to charges for severely whipping his young children, one a toddler still in diapers, as a form of discipline over a period of over two years. [0]
  • An Austin TX police officer has been given a one-day suspension after being cited for slightly injuring a pedestrian he hit when he made an illegal turn in his police cruiser. [0]
  • An Oak Brook IL police officer has been fired for obstructing an investigation into his father by hiding weapons for him and possibly hiding cash as well. His father, former Bolingbrook police officer Drew Peterson, facing trial on allegations he murdered at least one of his former wives. [0]
  • A Carmel IN police officer has been fired on multiple allegations including that he would get overly friendly with female motorists and that he repeatedly turned off his dashcam and recording equipment against policy including one occasion where he entered a woman’s home while on duty. [0]
  • Several New Haven CT police officers are under investigation on allegations that they participated in a protest against planned layoffs while they were on duty and others are under investigation on allegations that they participated in an illegal “sickout” as well. [0]
  • And finally, records released by the Houston TX police department show that arbitrators there, some serving in that capacity for over 20 years, have overturned disciplinary actions against police officers in 259 of 378 cases in last 17 years, which is about 70% of the time. [3]

That’s it for today, stay safe out there!

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-18-11

Sorry these are a little late, didn’t feel well last night…

Anyway, here are the 20 reports of police misconduct tracked in our National Police Misconduct News Feed for this Friday, February 18, 2011:

  • The Pennsylvania State Police have settled a lawsuit for an unknown sum to a man who claims that a trooper falsely arrested him in retaliation for filing an excessive force complaint against him. [2]
  • Two Tulsa OK police officers are the subject of a lawsuit filed by a man claiming the officers lied in order to wrongfully convict him. He spent 435 days in jail until the drug trafficking case against him was dismissed by a judge who stated that the officers lied about his arrest. This is the fourth such suit filed recently against Tulsa officers, several of whom are the subject of a federal investigation into corruption and wrongful arrests. [3]
  • A Los Angeles County CA deputy is the subject of a lawsuit alleging he injured a court spokeswoman when he shoved her into wall for being in a restricted area even though she was allowed to be there and had credentials. [2]
  • A Tarpon Springs FL police officer is accused of lying in his arrest report after the Pinellas State Attorney refused to prosecute a college student the officer arrested for recording police while they conducted an arrest. The student claims the contradictions were captured on video. [3]
  • The San Francisco CA police may be facing quite the lawsuit after they conducted a wrong door drug raid on the home of a law professor who has now pledged to conduct the best litigated lawsuit this century against the department and officers involved. [3]
  • The Washington DC police are being sued by a couple claiming 10 police officers executed a wrong door drug raid on their apartment. [3]
  • A North Carolina State trooper received probation as a result of his plea deal to a felony unlawful restraint charge for detaining and handcuffing a woman during a traffic stop, driving her to a secluded area, then masturbating in front of her. Records released after the case indicate this wasn’t the only sexual misconduct complaint against him. [0]
  • A Pawtucket RI police officer was found guilty of indecent exposure in a case that started after two women reported seeing him perform lewd acts in truck [0]
  • A Huron SD police officer has been fired and charged with solicitation of a minor and disseminating materials harmful to minors on allegations that he sent explicit videos and text messages to a 15-year-old girl. [0]
  • A Dallas TX police officer is being investigated for allegedly injuring hospital worker by throwing a boot at him during a dispute then bragging about it on Facebook. The Facebook postings on her page also allegedly include racist commentary and images the demean minorities and the homeless. [0]
  • A Midland TX police officer was suspended for 3 days over a drunken bar fight where he threatening to return with a gun. Apparently police were called but he was never charged. [4]
  • A Honolulu HI police major has been indicted for extortion, witness tampering & lying to federal agents as a result of a an investigation into alleged illegal activities that spanned over 5 years. [0]
  • A Fort Worth TX police officer has been sentenced to probation and will be decertified after pleading guilty to keeping marijuana that was meant for evidence. [0]
  • A Bexar County TX deputy was convicted on an abuse of official capacity charge for fixing a traffic ticket in exchange for a car payment. [0]
  • A Syracuse NY police officer has been sentenced to time served, equaling about 8 months, after years of legal maneuvers over a drunk driving conviction for an accident that injured two teens. [0]
  • A Teller County CO deputy has pled guilty to a drunk driving charge in a deal that dropped a weapons violation and other charges. [0]
  • A Dickson County TN deputy has been charged with criminal trespass for repeatedly entering the home of an ex’s parents without permission in order to see his son. [0]
  • And finally, a Sarasota FL police detective was fired after he attempted to secede from the United States as a sovereign citizen in a court filing he made. [0]

That’s it for this Friday, stay safe out there!

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-17-11

Before we start, I wanted to first say thank you to all the people who have taken time to write. I truly appreciate the support.

Also, I’m sorry if it’s taking me a while to respond to everyone’s email but I’m busy crunching numbers on a report I want to do about the prosecution and conviction rates of police officers along with a state-by-state comparison of those rates. It’s a lot of work, so I’m sorry for the delays.

Now, here are the 15 reports of police misconduct tracked in our National Police Misconduct News Feed for this Thursday, February 17, 2011:

  • Midland TX police are being sued by the family of a man they claim was unarmed when police shot him to death as he stepped out of his door during a standoff. [0]
  • An Anaheim CA officer-involved shooting is under investigation after a police officer who was apparently on duty in his own neighborhood shot an unarmed man he accused of burglarizing stuff. The man was apparently carrying a bag of mail and a cell phone but was not armed and neighbors claim the man sounded surprised at being shot but investigators are not disclosing any possible reason for the shooting and the man who was shot hasn’t been charged. [1]
  • A Pennsylvania state trooper has been arrested on allegations that he sent explicit videos of himself to a person he thought was a 13-year-old girl in a chat room. [0]
  • A Biloxi MS police officer has been indicted on sexual battery charges on allegations he had sex with a teen. He resigned while he was under investigation over the allegations. [0]
  • A Midland MI police officer has been suspended while under investigation on unspecified sexual assault allegations. I didn’t want to add this at first as the initial news reports were citing an anonymous phone call as a source of the story but subsequent stories indicated that evidence is being analyzed as part of the probe. [1]
  • Oakland CA settled a lawsuit for $300,000 to a man who claims that an officer planted a gun on him in order to wrongfully put him behind bars for 22 months. [0]
  • An FBI agent is under investigation on suspicion of being intoxicated when he crashed into a car, killing one teen and critically injured another. [1]
  • An Evansville IN police officer has been sentenced to a $10 fine after pleading guilty to a battery charge  for punching a retired deputy while both were drinking at an FOP lodge then kneeing him in the head when he was down. [0]
  • The Lubbock ISD TX police chief has been suspended after police were called to a restaurant when employees were unable to get him to leave despite repeated requests and a female employee felt threatened since he was allegedly intoxicated while wearing his gun at the time. [1]
  • A Maryland state trooper received a suspended sentence but must repay $5,502 he fraudulently claimed in overtime pay. [0]
  • Two San Francisco CA cops were suspended for a year without pay over their roles in making videos described as “racist & offensive”. [0]
  • And finally, the police chief of Houston TX is apparently claiming that videotaping cops is an act of “provocation” that he believes can lead to cops being assaulted or killed and that his officers are afraid because people are filming them… hopefully I’m reading all that wrong. [4]

That’s it for today, stay safe out there!

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-16-11

Unfortunately today’s review is just a direct dump from our news feed. I apologize for the inconvenience because there are a few of these stories that I did want to comment on… but it’s 3:00am already and it’s been a long day in a long week.

Anyway, here are the 24 reports of police misconduct tracked in our National Police Misconduct News Feed for this Wednesday, February 16, 2011:

  • Seattle WA police officer who fatally shot woodcarver resigns after review board found shooting unjustified [0] http://is.gd/m5d1GV
  • Everett WA settles suit for $500k to daughter of man fatally shot by cop while unarmed & boxed in inside his car [0] http://is.gd/gkTTpP
  • Jackson MS responsible for $500k of $23mil jury award to unarmed man shot in head by cop working security at hotel [0] http://is.gd/f9qGyn
  • Santa Ana CA settles suit for $600k to family of man shot to death by police under questionable circumstances [0] http://is.gd/mzAb2B
  • Ironton OH settles suit for unnamed sum to family of man who died when allegedly tasered after fleeing into river [1] http://is.gd/K7zXwt
  • Ellaville GA cop on leave while investigated by state on sexual battery allegations, cop who reported him was fired [5] http://is.gd/wYVeuc
  • Sea Isle City NJ settles suit for $500k to man who was 16 when he claims cops beat him then lied to justify it [3] http://is.gd/7qn2XS
  • St-Eustache QC police officer suspended w/o pay for slamming woman against car for parking violation at grade school [0] http://is.gd/JBekBh
  • Crossville AL police officer indicted on theft charge on allegations he stole laptop from car during traffic stop [0] http://is.gd/KZcaUD
  • Ft Lauderdale FL cop resigns in plea deal to theft charges for stalking & having sex w/woman while he was on clock [0] http://is.gd/nfZyrZ
  • Orleans County VT deputy charged w/neglect of duty & unlawful trespass after an illegal traffic stop & home entry [1] http://is.gd/19sKIE
  • California State Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement officer arrested w/private investigator on drug trafficking charges [0] http://is.gd/LFyIkE
  • North Carolina state trooper on administrative duty while under investigation on allegations of doctor shopping [0] http://is.gd/ZPsm0R
  • 5 Providence RI police sergeants demoted & must repay city for scheme to get paid for time not worked [0] http://is.gd/QsA1EW
  • Goodyear AZ police officer who won medal of valor indicted on theft, forgery & fraud charges for overtime fraud [0] http://is.gd/OTtdDv
  • Thomasville NC police detective charged w/insurance fraud & obstruction, also accused of contacting witness [0] http://is.gd/sGaacp
  • Grand Traverse Co MI deputy sentenced to 6mo jail (probation after 45days) for attempted assault on state trooper [0] http://is.gd/3LKT6p
  • Broome County NY deputy sentenced to probation for official misconduct & unrelated public lewdness charges [0] http://is.gd/z4UCAx
  • Mount Washington KY police officer arrested on multiple charges for allegedly assaulting & threatening wife with gun [0] http://is.gd/em5xid
  • Shreveport LA police officer on leave after issued a misdemeanor domestic violence summons over unspecified incident [2] http://is.gd/TN7a8q
  • Hendersonville TN police officer suspended after arrested on domestic violence charge in unspecified incident [1] http://is.gd/Cm6EVt
  • Vermont state trooper suspended after arrested on domestic violence allegations stemming from 911 hang-up call [1] http://is.gd/P1hS7Z
  • Roswell NM police sgt fired for unspecified reasons while police detective wife demoted after domestic battery arrest [0] http://is.gd/55Lecj
  • Winn Parish LA sheriff’s home & office searched by state police in ongoing investigation into unspecified allegations [2] http://is.gd/8xZz0X

Before I call it a day I figure I should give everyone an update about our situation, even though I don’t want to since some people are using that information to harass us unfortunately. Still, many more have been supportive and I owe it to everyone to be open about what’s going on even if some enjoy using it to kick us while we’re down.

After we found out that I didn’t get the last job I interviewed for we contacted our landlord and let her know that there was now no way possible for us to catch up on rent and we were able to negotiate an exit date of March 7. If we get out by then she won’t start an official eviction process, which is pretty much the best outcome we could have hoped for at this point.

What we do on the 7th is up in the air and depends on if I have a job by then and if I have a paycheck from that job by then, though the likelyhood of either grows slimmer by the day. If I do get a job and get paid by then we won’t have enough to get into a new place so we’ll put everything we own in storage and try to find a cheap hotel to hold up in and go from there. It’s not ideal having five of us in a single room, but it’s better than the alternative.

But if I don’t have a job or if I have a job but have to wait for my first pay we’ll have to just try to put what we can into storage if we can afford it and then look into shelters if any are available. From what I know that varies day by day. We’re still not sure what to do about the two cats.

The positive development since last time is that I might be up for a temp job. It’s only a 100 day contract, pays a lot less than I used to make, and won’t start until some time next week if I get it (which will be too late to help much with plan A), but it’s something. I may also have a line on another possible job, but it won’t start for a few more weeks if that happens at all… but that seems more tentative than the temp job so we’ll see how that develops.

In the meantime, I’ll continue working on the project no matter which eventuality comes to pass. As before, we’re expecting the worst while hoping for better options. But for now it’s just day by day.

For those who have been supportive, thank you again for your help and kind words, we appreciate it.

…anyway, as always, stay safe out there!

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