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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Nightmare: System Forgets About Man Left in Solitary Confinement

From the NY Daily News

A New Mexico prisoner who languished for nearly two years in solitary confinement — and was so neglected that he had to yank out his own tooth — has been awarded one of the largest federal civil rights settlements in history. Stephen Slevin, 59, will be paid $15.5 million after Dona Ana County agreed to settle with the former inmate, who was jailed at the county detention center from 2005 to 2007 on a DWI arrest. … Those 22 months in solitary was an inhumane and hellish experience for Slevin: His toenails grew so long that they curled around his foot; he was denied showers, causing fungus to form on his skin; and he developed bedsores.  Jail officials also didn’t allow him to see a dentist, his lawyer said, so Slevin grew so desperate that he extracted a painful tooth on his own. Before and after pictures of the inmate show the dramatic difference during his time in jail. After two years, his hair was long and unkempt, his face became haggard. He said he lost 50 pounds. Now, he still faces an uphill battle with his health after doctors diagnosed him with lung cancer, he said.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 03-07-13

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, March 7, 2013:

  • Mcallen, Texas: A federal grand jury indicted three more law enforcement officers on drug conspiracy charges. The indictment charges them with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine.
  • Update: Bourne, Massachusetts: A state trooper who was reported for driving erratically has pleaded not guilty to drunken driving charges.
  • Miami, Florida: Two police officers were arrested in the first-ever federal case of identity theft and tax-refund fraud involving South Florida law enforcement. They are accused of stealing people’s identities from police databases and using the information to file fraudulent tax returns with the IRS.
  • Chalfont, Pennsylvania: A police officer was sentenced to nine to twenty-three months in prison for lying about being shot in an elaborate hoax.
  • Orono, Maine:  Police say that an officer has been fired after being arrested on a drunken driving charge.
  • Winton-Salem, North Carolina: A police officer who faces an assault charge following a bar incident has resigned. The police said in a statement that “the diagnosed injuries to [the victim] met the statutory threshold for ‘serious injury.”
  • Bethel Township, Delaware: A former police officer is accused of stealing thousands from a little league. He allegedly used his position as the treasurer of the league to steal $13,000.
  • Update: Little Rock, Arkansas: An officer pleaded not guilty on manslaughter charges in connection to the death of a 15-year-old boy.

ACLU Looks into Militarization Trend in Police Depts

From Huffington Post:

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has launched a nationwide campaign to assess police militarization in the United States. Starting Wednesday, ACLU affiliates in 23 states are sending open records requests to hundreds of state and local police agencies requesting information about their SWAT teams, such as how often and for what reasons they’re deployed, what types of weapons they use, how often citizens are injured during SWAT raids, and how they’re funded. More affiliates may join the effort in the coming weeks.

Additionally, the affiliates will ask for information about drones, GPS tracking devices, how much military equipment the police agencies have obtained through programs run through the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security, and how often and for what purpose state National Guards are participating in enforcement of drug laws.

“We’ve known for a while now that American neighborhoods are increasingly being policed by cops armed with the weapons and tactics of war,” said Kara Dansky, senior counsel at the ACLU’s Center for Justice, which is coordinating the investigation. “The aim of this investigation is to find out just how pervasive this is, and to what extent federal funding is incentivizing this trend.”

For additional background, check out  Radley Balko’s study, Overkill, which is found on the right margin of our home page.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 03-05-13

Here are the 13 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, March 5, 2013:

  • Update: Denver, Colorado: A police officer has been sentenced to eight years in prison for sexual assault and kidnapping. He was in uniform when he came into contact with the victim and discovered she had an outstanding arrest warrant. He then took her to an isolated area and coerced her into “performing a sexual act to avoid being taken to jail,” said the DA’s office.
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico: An officer has been convicted of obstruction of justice and sent to jail. He tipped off a friend about a federal drug investigation.
  • Watertown, Massachusetts: An officer will be charged. He allegedly stole an ID while he was on the force, and then used to it get oxycodone and other prescription drugs.
  • Morehouse Parish, Louisiana: An officer has been arrested on one count of theft and one count of conspiracy. He has resigned from the force.
  • Miami County, Ohio: An officer pleaded not guilty to fifth-degree felony charges that occurred while he was on-duty. He allegedly stole a digital camera from the Sheriff’s office, as well as trash bags and paper reams. If convicted, he faces a year in prison, fines, and restitution. He has been fired.
  • Update: Eric, Pennsylvania: A trooper has pleaded no contest to homicide by motor vehicle while driving under the influence. He crossed the middle line while driving, striking another car, and killed the driver.
  • Cave City, Kentucky: A trooper was arrested and charged with DUI 1st offense. His blood alcohol content was more than two times the legal limit.
  • Update: Milwaukee, Wisconsin: A police officer has been fired after his conviction. While responding to a burglary call he stole cash from the register of a convenience store.
  • Waynesboro, Virginia: An officer has been charged with reckless driving. She crashed into another car and sent a 71-year-old woman to the hospital.
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin: An officer has been fired for driving drunk and causing a car accident. He also faces a misdemeanor charge of causing injury while operating under the influence.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio: A police officer has been indicted on two counts of obstruction and four counts of unauthorized use of property. He has been accused of accessing the police data base for his own purposes and helping two men avoid prosecution on robbery charges.
  • Blackwell, Oklahoma: A police officer has been charged. He brought a Russian-made AK-47 machine gun into the country illegally from Afghanistan. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
  • Bourne, Massachusetts: A state police trooper who was on leave for a knee injury has been charged with drunken driving.

Worst of the Month – February 2013

This month it is the story from California where totally innocent people were shot by police during the manhunt for Christopher Dorner.   There is no greater responsibility for a police officer than his/her use of deadly force.  If they get that wrong, the less important tasks hardly matter.  Alas, there is a tendency for departments to back up questionable conduct–perhaps out of fear of lawsuits.  But if the officer did exercise lousy judgment in the incident, and he is not relieved of duty (or charged), what do you say to the next victim?

The runner-up comes from Bozeman, Montana.   At first, the complaint was about excessive force by certain officers.  Then, in response to that complaint, the police went back and intentionally altered an audio tape–deleting the portions they did not want the judge and jury to hear.   If civilians engaged in conduct like that, the government would call it obstruction of justice, spoliation of evidence, and possibly perjury.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 03-02-13 to 03-04-13

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, March 2 to Monday, March 4, 2013:

  • Newbern, Tennessee: The police department said that it fired one police officer for reportedly falsifying time sheet documents. “The police department is tasked with protecting the citizens from dishonest people and from thieves, so when something like this goes on inside the police department, that’s dishonest and replicates a theft of city money and of taxpayer’s money, we simply can’t tolerate it,” said the investigator.
  • St. Louis County, Missouri: A police officer is facing a stealing charge. He has been accused of reporting overtime hours that he did not actually work. He has since resigned from the police department.
  • North Forest ISD, Texas: An officer who allegedly conspired to steal $10,000 from a group has now also been accused of robbing a home at gunpoint, while fully dressed as an officer.
  • Update: Carter County, Missouri: A sheriff has been charged with two felonies of distribution of a controlled substance, and possession of meth with intention to distribute. He previously pleaded guilty to stealing firearms from evidence and selling them.
  • Nez Perce County, Indiana: A sheriff’s deputy was fired after receiving a second driving under that influence charge.
  • Update: Prince George’s County, Maryland: Prosecutors have dropped a resisting arrest charge and alcohol-related charges against a veteran D.C. police officer who is suing PG County police officers that took him into custody. He alleges the officers hit him in the face and beat him in the incident.
  • Long Island, New York: A police officer has been accused of punching his 3-year-old son in the face at their home. The child suffered bruising and swelling to his right eye, cheek, and nose.
  • Queens, New York: An officer has been arrested and charged with patronizing a prostitute. He was on-duty, and the prostitute was actually an undercover officer.
  • Update: Lake Como, New Jersey: A suspended state trooper has admitted he was drunk when he hit two parked cars and crashed his unmarked state police vehicle into a creek while he was off-duty.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 03-01-13

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, March 1, 2013:

  • Update: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A judge says that a veteran cop is not guilty of punching a woman in the face after a parade. The incident was caught on video, and many people are upset about the ruling.
  • Carthage, Texas: The sheriff has been arrested in a public corruption investigation involving alleged theft, abuse of power and fraud. Texas Rangers and the FBI arrested the sheriff, who took office in January. He faces charges of tampering with a government record, defraud/harm, abuse of official capacity, and theft by a public servant. He’s free on $50,000 bond.
  • Greenville County, South Carolina: Deputy turned himself in on charges related to a relationship he had with a felony suspect who he should have arrested, but instead helped by providing her with information, according to the Sheriff.
  • Franklin County, Kansas: The sheriff has been charged with felony counts of official misconduct and making a false report. The official misconduct charge alleges he unlawfully used “confidential information acquired in the course of” his duties for “the private benefit or gain” of himself or another public employee.
  • Garland, Texas: A police officer who fired 41 shots at a chase suspect has been fired after an internal investigation into the shooting.
  • Key West, Florida: Two off-duty road patrol deputies were charged after a road-rage incident in which one allegedly brandished a gun.
  • Washington County, Minnesota: A deputy is charged with stealing drugs. Investigators say he was taking them from a bin set up for the public to drop off unused prescription medications.
  • Update: Jackson, Mississippi: Two former officers were sentenced to 10 years in jail after pleasing guilty to taking brides. A third officer was given nine years in the same case. They accepted thousands of dollars from men they thought were drug dealers, but really were FBI undercover agents posing as drug traffickers.
  • Memphis, Tennessee: An officer has been fired on intimidation charges after he allegedly flashed his gun at a motorist during an on-duty confrontation.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-28-13

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, February 28, 13:

  • Somerset, Massachusetts: The police officer who is facing felony drug charges after allegedly convincing an elderly man to hand over expired prescription drugs resigned from the police force.
  • Atlanta, Georgia: A former state trooper who was accused of causing a crash that killed a woman and injured three others has been indicted by a grand jury. He has been charged with vehicular homicide, reckless driving, and violating his oath as a public officer.
  • Lawrence, Massachusetts: A police officer is accused by authorities of raping a teenage girl. He is now facing charges of committing sexual battery on a juvenile between the ages of 12 and 18 and giving alcohol to an underage person. He has been jailed with no bail set.
  • Sophia, West Virginia: An officer was arrested after he left a restaurant without paying. He was found guilty of defrauding an innkeeper and terminated.
  • Monterey Park, California: Parents of a student who was shot and killed by police officers have filed a lawsuit against the city. They accuse the city of civil rights violations, denying due process, battery, wrongful death, and infliction of emotional distress.
  • Eagle Pass, Texas: An officer pleaded guilty to possessing a stolen firearm. He faces up to 10 years in prison after admitting that he tried to sell an M1 carbine that he knew was stolen.
  • Wilmington, Delaware: Police say an officer has been arrested for having two wives. He has been charged with bigamy and related charges, and has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the investigation.
  • Dallas, Texas: A police officer has confessed to filing a fraudulent tax return, according to federal documents. He resigned from the force, and agreed to plead guilty to one count of willful presentation of a false of fraudulent tax return.
  • Durham, North Carolina: An internal investigation has found that a former police officer accused of beating a woman during an arrest at a party used excessive force. A news release said the department had “taken, and continues to take, any allegations of misconduct seriously, and works deliberately to ensure that all complaints are thoroughly investigated, and appropriate action is taken when needed.”

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-27-13

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, February 27, 2013:

  • Benton, Arkansas: An officer was fired for violating polices and procedures after he was pulled over and arrested for driving while intoxicated.
  • Corona, California: The city fired a police corporal who was convicted of failing to report suspected child abuse. She was found guilty of failing to tell authorities that a fellow member of her church had told her that he suspected a boy, then 13, had been assaulted.
  • Cornwall, Pennsylvania: A state trooper is facing charges following a hit-and-run incident he was involved in while off-duty.
  • Reading, Pennsylvania: An officer who was placed on paid leave following his recent arrest in a New Jersey nightclub was suspended without pay. He was charged in Atlantic City with resisting arrest following a disturbance.
  • Montgomery County, Pennsylvania: An officer faces theft charges and has had her police powers suspended after she was accused of using gift cards that were reported stolen. “We obviously don’t like to hear any allegations that are negative involving our police officers,” said the chief. “But we take these things very seriously and will investigate it thoroughly and completely.”
  • South Bend, Indiana: A police officer has been arrested for a second time for driving drunk. When he was pulled over he allegedly whispered to the arresting officer, “Man, I’m a South Bend Police Officer.”
  • Miami County, Ohio: A former sheriff’s deputy has pleaded not guilty to a charge accusing him of stealing property from the sheriff’s officer. He was fired after the conclusion of an internal investigation.
  • Celina, Ohio: The police chief remains on administrative leave because of what the city’s safety service manager is characterizing as “potential job-related misconduct.” There is an investigation still ongoing.
  • Ecru, Mississippi: A police officer has pleaded guilty to depriving the rights of two people he pulled over for traffic offenses. He was accused on two occasions of pulling over people, then taking cash from them in lieu of writing a traffic citation.

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