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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 12-8-12 to 12-10-12

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, December 8 to Monday, December 10, 2012:

  • Woodland Park, New Jersey: A suspended police officer has been indicted on charges of attempted aggravated sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, luring a child, official misconduct, and attempted endangering the welfare of a child. The police chief said “We didn’t give him any special treatment because he was a police officer.”
  • Muncie, Indiana: A police officer has been fired after officials say she sent a threatening text message to another woman.
  • Lafayette, Louisiana: A man has filed a lawsuit against the police chief claiming unlawful arrest and excessive force.
  • Warren, Ohio: A police officer was arrested and placed in jail for failing to comply with the terms of his probation. He was then fired. In a letter, the police chief said that the officer had failed his oath by violating, instead of upholding, the law. He was arrested three times over a two year period.
  • Westminster, California: Two officers are facing a year in jail for conspiring to dismiss a woman’s speeding ticket after she promised to send booze to them.
  • Waterbury, Connecticut: The U.S. Attorney’s office has accused a detective of obstructing a tax investigation. They say he made false claims to IRS agents.
  • Grove City, Ohio: A lawsuit has been filed against the sheriff’s office. A man says deputies entered his home illegally, used excessive force, and arrested him without probable cause.
  • Grand Traverse, Michigan: City police arrested a sheriff’s deputy after witnesses said he assaulted his girlfriend at a downtown saloon.
  • Vernon Parish, Louisiana: The sheriff’s office deputy who resigned amid sex-related allegations has been arrested. He turned himself in when there was an active warrant for sexual battery out for him.
  • Little Falls, Minnesota: A Walmart theft lead to a high-speed chase, which ended in a crash. All of the car’s occupants were taken to the hospital for injuries.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 12-7-12

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, December 7, 2012:

  • Lawrence, Indiana: A police officer is facing criminal charges. He as been accused of using excessive force during an arrest.
  • Hurricane, West Virginia: A man that was suspected of taking items from a store was chased by officers; the high-speed-chase led to a car crash and his death.
  • Kingsbridge, New Jersey: A jury found a detective guilty of second-degree manslaughter for hitting and killing a grandmother with his car.
  • Update: Houston, Texas: The Department of Justice is investigating the use of excessive force by officers. The investigation includes the case where officers killed a mentally disturbed, double amputee.
  • Ormond Beach, Florida: An investigation shows that an officer got prescriptions for drugs from several different doctors. He was arrested and booked into jail for attempting to fraudulently get a hold of prescription drugs.
  • Binghamton, New York: A police officer who resigned after being charged with a DWI has pleaded not guilty.
  • Dallas, Texas: The family of a man shot and killed by an officer has filed a wrongful death suit against the officer and the police department.
  • Contra Costa County, California: The now-former drug task force commander pleaded guilty in federal court to a number of felony charges stemming from a police corruption case. The charges included narcotics possession, distribution and sales, theft from a federally funded program, and civil rights violations including illegal search and seizures.
  • Phoenix, Arizona: The officer accused of masterminding a fraud scheme involving off-duty officers pleaded no contest to the theft charge.

Grandmother Struck and Killed by Drunk Driving NY Officer

From the Village Voice:

A former NYPD detective — whose BAC was more than three times the legal limit when he plowed into a Bronx grandmother with a cop car — was convicted of manslaughter yesterday.

Former Detective Kevin Spellman, however, beat the rap on the most serious charges against him (aggravated vehicular homicide and first-degree vehicular manslaughter) in the death of 66-year-old Drane Nikac, who was struck by the tipsy former detective on October 30, 2009, as she was walking near the intersection of West 232nd St. and Kingsbridge Avenue in the Bronx.

Following the accident, Spellman refused a breathalyzer test, and his BAC wasn’t tested until five hours after he slammed into the Bronx grandmother while driving erratically in his NYPD-owned Chevy Impala.

The article says that Spellman retired.  If there is a pension, how about we cancel that, or divert it to the Nikac estate?

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 12-6-12

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, December 6, 2012:

  • Barnstable, Massachusetts: An officer who pleaded guilty to drunken driving charges has resigned. He submitted his letter of resignation rather than going through a hearing to fight his anticipated dismissal.
  • Update: Milwaukee, Wisconsin: An officer who was fired for punching a handcuffed woman got his job back from the police commission. The police chief had said that it was clear he lost control and was using excessive force.
  • Shenandoah County, Virginia: A deputy resigned after facing two charges of hunting and trapping without a license.
  • Update: Barren County, Kentucky: More charges have been filed against the police chief. The charges are use of unreasonable force by a law officer and destruction of records.
  • South Bend, Indiana: A patrolman has been accused of failed to file a report about a theft, as well as lying about alerting other officers to the incident.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: An officer got into a car accident while she was off-duty. She left the scene of the crash and then submitted a false accident report. She was later compensated by her insurance company for the damage to her car. She has been arrested and charged.
  • Genessee County, New York: A police officer has been charged with assaulting another woman during a country music concert. She was off-duty at the time of the incident.
  • Boulder, Colorado: An officer was arrested on suspicion of a DUI. He had trouble keeping his car in the lane, and told an officer, “I’m drunk.”

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 12-5-12

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, December 5, 2012:

  • Columbia, South Carolina: A state trooper was arrested for disorderly conduct after he refused to obey police orders while he was off-duty. He has been terminated.
  • Rutland, Vermont: A 26-year veteran police officer is suspended with pay and now faces a criminal investigation.
  • Sanford, Florida: An officer has been accused of leaving the scene of an accident. He tried to change lanes, sideswiped another car, and kept driving.
  • Vernal, Utah: Residents filed a civil lawsuit against the city, the state, and an officer who they allege used personal information from Utah’s prescription drug database to harass them and steal their pain medication. “He hoped that they would be too dumb to notice the pills were missing,” the complaint says. “He counted on the fact that they would be too scared to stop him from coming into their homes and stealing their medication because of his status as law enforcement.”
  • San Antonio, Texas: A deputy U.S. marshal who authorities say tipped off his drug-trafficker father about an undercover federal agent was arrested. He is accused of showing a photocopy of the unidentified agent’s driver’s license to colleagues last fall and, upon learning it belonged to an undercover investigator, sending a warning text to his father, who has served prison time for various drug charges.
  • Easton, Pennsylvania: A police officer has been fired officials said. “He had some off-duty misconduct,” the police chief said. “An investigation was conducted, and based on the misconduct, he was released from employment with the city.”
  • Uptown, Illinois: A family says that an officer used excessive force and robbed them of their potential income when he shot their 7-month-old show dog.
  • Update: Bellevue, Washington: Two officers were disciplined and a 22-year veteran was demoted after an investigation into unruly behavior at a Seattle Seahawks game.
  • Update: Dallas, Texas: The woman who was the head of the CrimeStoppers unit, who pleaded guilty to stealing $175,000, was sentenced to 42 months in prison.
  • Port Hueneme, California: The mother of a man killed last year by an officer has filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit, alleging authorities reacted improperly when they fatally shot her unarmed son and left him for dead.

The Cash Machine: Philadelphia’s Forfeiture System

From the Philadelphia City Paper:

The size of Philly’s forfeiture program isn’t just unprecedented within Pennsylvania. In 2010, for example, Kings County (Brooklyn), with a population 1.5 times that of Philadelphia, reported taking by forfeiture about $1.2 million in assets — less than one-fifth of what Philly took. Los Angeles County, with a population more than six-and-a-half times Philadelphia’s, also successfully sued to keep just $1.2 million in seized assets.

Those numbers aren’t direct comparisons: They don’t include sums collected via a federal “equitable sharing” program in which forfeitures are outsourced to federal agencies, with local law enforcement keeping most of the proceeds. But these programs also contain certain safeguards not present in Philly: Namely, federal guidelines stipulate a minimum amount for seizure of $2,000.

Philadelphia’s civil forfeiture unit, by contrast, amasses its impressive annual take by itself pursuing thousands of vastly smaller cases — and many, many more of them.

In 2010, for example, Los Angeles County’s 48 successful forfeiture cases raised about $25,000 per case. In the same year, the Philadelphia District Attorney filed more than 8,000 forfeiture cases for currency alone, for an average of just $550. In a sample of more than 100 cases from 2011 and 2012 reviewed by City Paper, the median amount was only $178. In many of these cases, the Philadelphia District Attorney sued to seize amounts less than $100.

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, in other words, isn’t just one of the most lucrative municipal  forfeiture units around; it also might be the pettiest.

Read the whole thing.

For additional background, go here.

National Police MIsconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 12-4-12

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, December 4, 2012:

  • Newport, Tennessee: An officer was fired after an investigation revealed she was sneaking contraband into the jail. She was smuggling items like tobacco, drinks, food, and cash both on and off duty.
  • New York, New York: An off-duty officer was arrested for drunk driving, and has been charged with resisting arrest, driving intoxicated and refusal to take a breath test. He is the third NYPD officer to be arrested for drunk driving in the span of a week.
  • Canandaigua, New York: An officer was pulled over for failing to keep right and improper lane usage. Deputies determined that she was intoxicated and arrested her for DWI.
  • Scranton, Pennsylvania: The police chief has been charged with having a three-year sexual relationship with a teenage girl. The accuser testified at length about the encounters; the police chief maintains his innocence.
  • Seminole County, Florida: Two men were roughed up during a traffic stop, and they are now suing the sheriff and three deputies, alleging that their civil rights were violated.
  • Conway, South Carolina: An officer who has been charged with 1st degree criminal domestic violence is still currently employed at the police department, but has not been on-duty since the arrest. The police report states when the arresting officer arrived the accused officer smelled of alcohol and was standing outside the home.  Police say he told them he and the victim were in an argument.
  • Mount Joy, Pennsylvania: The city approved a $900,000 settlement for the family of a man who died after attempts to subdue him included repeatedly tasering him.
  • Cleveland, Ohio: Thirteen police officers fired 137 rounds at a couple in a car. The police say that it was self-defense. The couple died, and there are now protests happening in the city.
  • Orlando, Florida: An officer has been arrested and charged with sexual battery after he had a “sexual encounter” with a woman he arrested before taking her to jail. “I want the Orlando community and its citizens to know that the Orlando Police Department remains committed to keeping the actions of its employees transparent,” said the police chief.

Drug-sniffing Dogs and their Handlers

H/T  Radley Balko at Huffington Post.

Please remember this video the next time someone says, “Well if you have not done anything wrong, you don’t have anything to worry about.”  The officer admits putting illegal narcotics on cars randomly around town–enough to have a dog “alert” to anyone’s car, whether they have ever used drugs or not.  This isn’t an officer “caught on tape.”  The officer readily admits that this is what he does.

To fully appreciate the video above, you should watch this video first.   This victim of police misconduct filed a lawsuit against town and officer.  A year or two later, his attorney gets his opportunity to question the officer in a deposition.  That’s what the above video is all about.

There is a drug detection dog case pending before the Supreme Court this term.  Read the Cato amicus brief in that case to learn more about the law on the matter.

Controversial Police Shooting in Cleveland

13 officers fire 137 rounds and kill Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams.

Police say they fired in self-defense.


Russell ended up on a dead-end access road to an East Cleveland middle school, where the officers from various jurisdictions converged with the 13 Cleveland officers.

They surrounded the Malibu, and some officers were out of their cars when Russell rammed another police car, Gardner said.

Police are trained to use deadly force to stop a suspect from using a vehicle as a weapon. They opened fire.

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office is running gunshot-residue tests on Russell’s and Williams’ hands to determine if either fired a gun. The results should be in before week’s end.

No gun was found in Russell’s car or along the chase route. No bullet or casing was found outside the Justice Center.

Pathologists at the Medical Examiner’s Office removed 20 rounds from Russell’s body and 16 from Williams’ body. They both had additional wounds from bullets that entered and exited their bodies — Russell had 30 wounds, Williams had 20, an investigator said.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 12-1-12 to 12-3-12

Here are the 11 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, December 1, to Monday, December 3, 2012:

  • New York, New York: An off-duty police officer was arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol.\
  • Update: Hatboro, Pennsylvania: An officer was sentenced to 15 days in jail in connection with felony charges stemming from his theft of narcotic, funds, cash and for his misuse of informants to obtain drugs to feed his habit.
  • Smith County, Texas: A state trooper who told authorities that he swerved to miss a deer resulting in a crash was intoxicated at the time of the accident. He has been arrested.
  • Irvington, New Jersey: The police chief has been accused of ordering detectives in the Internal Affairs Unit to unfairly punish officers, doctor internal reports and run personal errands for him.
  • New York, New York: A police officer, and decorated former Marine, was arrested after driving drunk and becoming involved in an accident.
  • Freehold, New Jersey: An officer who was accused of raping an informant has been sentenced to 5 years of probation for criminal coercion and 3 years of probation for tampering with evidence. The sentencing was a result of a plea bargain. He had already forfeited his job.
  • Eugene, Oregon: A man has filed a $3 million civil rights lawsuit against the police department and three officers for allegedly entering his home without permission and taking his mentally ill adult son to a local hospital, where he died of cardiac arrest after being “prescribed an overdose of medication.”
  • McAlester, Oklahoma: An officer was suspended after he used a taser on a handcuffed female prisoner inside the police station.
  • Snohomish County, Washington: A sheriff’s deputy has been charged with burglary after a stove and other items were taken from a vacation property. The charges include second-degree burglary and third degree malicious mischief.
  • Peabody, Massachusetts: An officer has been charged with six counts of assault and battery on a child under the age of 14, plus a charge of disseminating obscene material to a minor.
  • Fort Worth, Texas: During a rash of incidents in 2010 involving Fort Worth police officers and alcohol, chief of staff Paul Henderson summed up the department’s frustrations when he declared: “We are absolutely fed up with dealing with this off-duty behavior.” He was arrested on suspicion of DWI this past weekend.

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