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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

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. ow.ly/i9dr2
  • 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. http://ow.ly/iboNq
  • 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. ow.ly/ibfVl
  • 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. ow.ly/ibuNT
  • Garland, Texas: A police officer who fired 41 shots at a chase suspect has been fired after an internal investigation into the shooting. ow.ly/ibu9Q
  • Key West, Florida: Two off-duty road patrol deputies were charged after a road-rage incident in which one allegedly brandished a gun. http://ow.ly/ijWhp
  • 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. ow.ly/iaHrv
  • 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. ow.ly/iaDhk
  • Memphis, Tennessee: An officer has been fired on intimidation charges after he allegedly flashed his gun at a motorist during an on-duty confrontation. ow.ly/iaCOm

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. ow.ly/i9cz5
  • 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. ow.ly/i98rf
  • 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. ow.ly/i95qm
  • Sophia, West Virginia: An officer was arrested after he left a restaurant without paying. He was found guilty of defrauding an innkeeper and terminated. ow.ly/i8DgK
  • 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. ow.ly/i8Cpg
  • 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. ow.ly/i8AmP
  • 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. ow.ly/i8xCo
  • 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. ow.ly/i7h2B
  • 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.” ow.ly/i7gTt

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. ow.ly/i6C2g
  • 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. ow.ly/i6BFs
  • Cornwall, Pennsylvania: A state trooper is facing charges following a hit-and-run incident he was involved in while off-duty. ow.ly/i6Bj8
  • 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. ow.ly/i6lVx
  • 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.” ow.ly/i6l8K
  • 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.” ow.ly/i6hGz
  • 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. ow.ly/i68hG
  • 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. ow.ly/i6CP8
  • 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. ow.ly/i4JeO

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-26-13

Here are the 11 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, February 26, 2013:

  • St. Louis, Missouri: A suspended patrolman disgraced the department and should be fired for striking a man with a baton, choking him, and slamming his head into the bumper of a squad car, a police department lawyer said. The lawyer says he used excessive force, racial slurs, and obscenities while arresting a handcuffed trespassing suspect. http://ow.ly/i4tbZ
  • Dekalb, Illinois: A grand jury re-indicted a Northern Illinois University officer for rape just days after the school fired the police chief for allegedly mishandling the case. http://ow.ly/i4HIO
  • Update: Gary, Indiana: A police officer will admit he knowingly sold a gun to a felon and sold that same person drugs later the same day. http://ow.ly/i4Im6
  • Update: Tupelo, Mississippi: A lawsuit accuses a former state trooper of beating a man who drove around road block, and his supervisors of looking the other way. The trooper is also facing charges accusing him of kicking a woman and ‘stomping her head against the floor’ in a jail. http://ow.ly/i4cAm
  • Torrington, Connecticut: A police officer was charged with drunken driving and speeding. http://ow.ly/i4sWN
  • West Sacramento, California: A police officer has been arrested after an investigation into assault and kidnapping charges involving six women. He allegedly carried out the acts while performing uniformed patrol duties. ow.ly/i4bwd
  • Clarksville, Arkansas: A deputy was arrested and charged with perjury. She was serving as the bailiff on a murder trail, and during the trial told jurors information about the murder suspect’s behavior and certain security measures in place. ow.ly/i46PH
  • Bridgeport, Connecticut: Five years ago, a heavily armed weapons and tactics team raided a home, and killed a man. Five towns are now paying $3.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the victim’s family. ow.ly/i42ij
  • Conroe, Texas: A police sergeant was charged with having an improper sexual relationship with a student. “The law clearly states that sexual relationships are prohibited between employees of educational facilities, like high schools, and their students,” said the DA. ow.ly/i3OfY
  • Hampton County, South Carolina: A deputy was indicted on one count of criminal sexual conduct with a minor between 11 and 14, committing a lewd act on a minor, and misconduct in public office. The incidents occurred while he was working as a school resource officer. ow.ly/i2XHi
  • Update: Brattleboro, Vermont: A state trooper received a suspended sentence of six to twelve months after he pleaded no contest to charges that, while on duty, he assaulted two men who used his canoe without permission. http://ow.ly/i4qCr

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-23-13 to 02-25-13

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, February 23 to Monday, February 25, 2013:

  • Houston, Texas: An officer has been accused of telling two women, including an undercover HPD investigator, he would tear up their traffic tickets in exchange for sexual favors. ow.ly/i2cDI
  • Los Angeles, California: Police officers bought and sold guns from the police armory for profit, and told the lieutenant in charge of the armory to “watch his back” after he reported it, the 25-year LAPD veteran claims in court. ow.ly/i29IG
  • Des Plaines, Illinois: A now-former police commander is accused of padding DUI arrest records to get federal grant money and has been charged with one count of making false information, federal authorities said. ow.ly/i289g
  • Irwindale, California: A former police sergeant and two current officers are the subject of criminal investigation – two for alleged sexual improprieties and one for the alleged theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars, officials confirmed. The police chief, in reference to the sexual improprieties allegations, said, “We took this matter very seriously. As soon as the allegation was brought to our attention the employee of concern was placed on administrative leave and we immediately launched an administrative investigation.” ow.ly/i1HhN
  • Dallas, Texas: Two police officers are under criminal investigation. A judge determined that they repeatedly lied in sworn testimony about a drug arrest they made. After listening to other witnesses, the judge ruled, “there is doubt as to whether any illicit drugs that were alleged to have been found belonged to Williams, as opposed to having been planted.” ow.ly/i1FVN
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A police officer was suspended for 30 days without pay with the intent to dismiss. Several fellow officer voiced suspicions that the accused officer was stealing clothing, sneakers, and jewelry from the homes of suspected drug dealers during raids and warrant executions. ow.ly/i1yB1
  • Colonie, New York: An officer has been suspended without pay and is facing a misdemeanor assault charge following his arrest stemming from a bar brawl. ow.ly/i1xHS
  • Rialto, California: A former officer pleaded no contest to committing a series of sex acts with a teenage relative starting a decade ago. He accepted responsibility for two counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object against the victim’s will, and one count of lewd act on a child age 14, according to court records. ow.ly/i1tMi
  • Update: Long Beach, California: An officer has been sentenced to 11 year and 8 months in state prison for sex crimes involving underage girls. He pleaded guilty to forcible rape, meeting a minor for lewd purposes, using a minor for sex acts, possession of child pornography, and false imprisonment by fraud or deceit. ow.ly/i1qnM
  • Boulder, Colorado: Two police officers charged with driving under the influence in separate cases have resigned. ow.ly/i15yN

Citizen Review Board Rules for Police 16 Years and Counting

From the Charlotte Observer:

Mayor Anthony Foxx is questioning how Charlotte’s Citizen Review Board handles allegations of police misconduct.

Also, the review board’s chairman says the panel will consider drafting reform proposals for City Council to consider.

In his first public comments on the issue, Foxx said Friday that he has asked Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe to respond to last Sunday’s Observer investigation showing that the oversight panel has ruled in favor of police every time in its nearly 16-year history.

More here.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-22-13

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, February 22, 2013:

  • Update: Indianapolis, IN: A suspended police officer received an eight-year sentence after he was found guilty earlier this month of two counts each of robbery and official misconduct. Three years of his sentence will be spent in prison, with a year of home detention. He will be on probation for the remaining four years. ow.ly/hYgUf
  • Albemarle, Virginia: A now-former fourth grade teacher and police officer will spend three years in prison for possessing child pornography. He pleaded guilty to two of the ten felony counts against him as part of an agreement. He received two ten-year sentences, each with all but 1.5 years suspended. ow.ly/hXwIw
  • Update: Jackson, Mississippi: A now-former police detective is likely to spend the rest of his life behind bars. A jury found him guilty of capital murder in the death of his 1-year-old daughter. ow.ly/hY84m
  • Mobile, Alabama: A second state trooper has been convicted of using his state credit card to buy gasoline for personal use. He pleaded guilty to a felony ethics charge. ow.ly/hXtZu
  • South Bend, Indiana: The city’s Board of Public Safety accepted the suspension of a police officer who was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. ow.ly/hWqIc
  • Update: Asheville, North Carolina: A police officer admitted to physically abusing a 3-year-old girl left in his car. He avoided jail time, but must do 24 hours of community service and pay a one hundred dollar fine. The child must stay in therapy, and he can never be an officer again. ow.ly/hXwXe
  • Peoria, Illinois: A newly retired Peoria police officer was sentenced to 90 days in the Peoria County Jail for attempting to mislead investigators probing a drunken driving crash. ow.ly/hWqlB
  • Update: Milwaukee, Wisconsin: An inquest jury recommended that there police officers should be criminally charged with failure to render aid in connection with an in-custody death. The man in custody died gasping for air in the back of a squad car. ow.ly/hY019
  • Newark, New Jersey: A police officer has been convicted of aggravated assault for striking a city resident in the face with his service weapon. ow.ly/hWquP

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-21-13

Here are the 7 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, February 21, 2013:

  • Memphis, Tennessee: A police officer who was involved in a car crash that killed two people has been fired. ow.ly/hVmCK
  • Nassau County, New York: A jury has convicted the former deputy police commissioner on two counts of official misconduct and one count of conspiracy. The conviction was in connection with his role in preventing the arrest of a teenager whose father was a personal friend and financial benefactor of the police. ow.ly/hVngh
  • Greenville, North Carolina: A police officer was placed on administrative leave after his arrest for drunk driving. “None of us are above the law and we hold each other accountable for our actions,” said the police chief in a statement. ow.ly/hV9ZH
  • Lea County, New Mexico: A jury has found a now-former deputy guilty; he was arrested following the investigation of a claim that he sexually assaulted a 9-year old girl, and her 16-year-old sister. He faces a prison sentence of 18 years and a lifetime of parole and sex offender registration requirements. A second, separate trial involving the allegations of the 16-year-old girl is still pending. ow.ly/hTU7f
  • Update: Melbourne, Florida: A former police officer who was fired for having sex with a prostitute while on the job took a plea deal. He will get 6 months probation and treatment for sex addiction. ow.ly/hTw6J
  • Lubbock, Texas: The parents of a man fatally shot filed suit for wrongful death, seeking $1 million and access to investigative records. The police say they shot his son in defense of another person. http://ow.ly/hVoVq
  • Dekalb County, Georgia: An indictment in federal court states that officers worked together to protect drug dealers during cocaine transactions. In return for their protection, the men were given thousands of dollars in payouts. They were arrested after a year-long investigation. http://ow.ly/hVDCr

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Reap 02-20-13

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, February 20, 2013:

  • Washington Park, Illinois: Court documents show a police officer was accused of violating a woman’s civil rights by allegedly arresting her with no justification, then shooting her twice with a taser while she was handcuffed and sitting in the back of a police car. http://ow.ly/hTqLl
  • Update: Oxford, Mississippi: Court records show an ex-state trooper will plead guilty to a federal charge. He has been accused of stomping a woman in the county jail, while he was on the job. ow.ly/hTp4Z
  • Washington, DC: An officer with nearly 2 decades on the force has been convicted of stealing her brother’s identity and taking out thousands of dollars of loans in his name. She faces up to 150 years in prison if given the maximum time. ow.ly/hTh4m
  • New York, New York: A sergeant with fifteen years on the force has been arrested and charged in connection with having child pornography on his computer. He has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the criminal proceeding brought against him. ow.ly/hTf7m
  • Greenville, North Carolina: Two deputies have been suspended after an altercation with a former highway patrol trooper. ow.ly/hTc3O
  • Mount Horeb, Wisconsin: A police officer was arrested on a tentative charge of sexual assault on a child. He is accused of repeated assault on the 14-year-old. ow.ly/hTaNk
  • St. Petersburg, Florida: A couple is suing after two police officers confronted them while they were in their home. The officers suspected they were burglars, when the couple was actually legally renting. The couple says that the officers used unnecessary excessive force. http://ow.ly/hRwdA
  • Pawtucket, Rhode Island: An officer has been charged with one count of domestic simple assault and three counts of domestic disorderly conduct. He was ordered to stay away from the alleged victim. http://ow.ly/hSRAE
  • Decatur, Illinois: A narcotics detective was arrested on charges of official misconduct and theft of more than $500 for stealing money related to his work and creating false documents to cover up the thefts. http://ow.ly/hRdof
  • Update: Lebanon, Pennsylvania: A city police officer was placed on accelerated rehabilitative disposition. He was fined $600 and given 12 months probation for driving under the influence. http://ow.ly/hRfqI

Robert Ethan Saylor and the Garrity Precedent

Ethan Saylor had Down syndrome.  He was in a movie theatre and Zero Dark Thirty had just ended.  Saylor wanted to watch the film all over again.  A theatre employee said he either had to buy another ticket or leave.  When Saylor didn’t budge, they called security, which turned out to be some off-duty sheriff’s deputies working security in the mall.  The deputies claim Saylor resisted arrest and died while being restrained.  The coroner has now ruled Saylor’s death a homicide.

According to a story in today’s Washington Post, Saylor idolized the police and loved to watch police TV shows.  Here’s an excerpt:

When Foss learned of Saylor’s death, he said, he informed about 60 members of the church that night. The following Sunday, they brought bouquets to fill Saylor’s empty chair. The flowers overflowed onto the floor and an adjoining seat.

Cam Overs has a son Saylor’s age and has been friends with his family for 30 years. He remembered how Saylor would run curiously toward whatever caught his eye and was a pro at hide and seek because he had the endurance to stay in the same spot until he was found.

Saylor would get breakfast with Overs every Sunday at McDonald’s. Both scoffed at change, and so their orders were always the same: a No. 1 for Overs and a No. 7 for Saylor.

“Now I don’t have my buddy for breakfast every Sunday morning,” Overs said. “There’s a void that nobody expected.”

Overs said Saylor knew how to spell “satellite” because of his fascination with satellite photos and was thrilled when Overs’s son Jonathan, who is in the military, brought him a Kevlar vest. Overs said Saylor didn’t understand that he could call a non-emergency number for the police and dialed 911 so often that he was known to members of the law enforcement community.

On the day of Saylor’s funeral, two law enforcement officers sent a text that was read aloud; it said they, too, would miss him.

“What a fitting memorial it would be if a training module was created in his name,” Overs said, “so no other family or police force would have to suffer this pain.”

A spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s office says “We’re taking it very seriously.”  The deputies involved in the incident, however, have thus far declined to speak with investigators.

One would think that such noncooperation would be unacceptable under the circumstances.  Can’t the Sheriff call them in and say, “A young man lost his life in your custody.  I want to know what happened and why.  If  you decline to answer, surrender your badge and gun.”

That sounds like a sensible response to me, but the law is perverted.  There is a Supreme Court precedent on the books by the name of Garrity v. New Jersey–and that case says the above procedure would violate a police officer’s right against self-incrimination.  The reasoning was lousy.  If the officers accused of wrongdoing want to remain silent and speak to a lawyer–that is their right, just the same as everyone else.  What they cannot do is remain silent and also demand to keep exercising police powers in the community.  If the police commanders determine that a sworn officer’s conduct is egregious or criminal, the culprit should be given his walking papers.

Garrity is an obstacle to police accountability and should be overturned.  In 1967, the year it was decided, four Supreme Court justices thought it was a mistake.  Here is an excerpt from their dissenting opinion:

It can hardly be denied that New Jersey is permitted by the Constitution to establish reasonable qualifications and standards of conduct for its public employees. Nor can it be said that it is arbitrary or unreasonable for New Jersey to insist that its employees furnish the appropriate authorities with information pertinent to their employment. Cf. Beilan v. Board of Education, 357 U.S. 399 ; Slochower v. Board of Education, 350 U.S. 551 . Finally, it is surely plain that New Jersey may in particular require its employees to assist in the prevention and detection of unlawful activities by officers of the state government. The urgency of these requirements is the more obvious here, where the conduct in question is that of officials directly entrusted with the administration of justice. The importance for our systems of justice [385 U.S. 493, 508]   of the integrity of local police forces can scarcely be exaggerated. Thus, it need only be recalled that this Court itself has often intervened in state criminal prosecutions precisely on the ground that this might encourage high standards of police behavior. See, e. g., Ashcraft v. Tennessee, 322 U.S. 143 ; Miranda v. Arizona, supra. It must be concluded, therefore, that the sanction at issue here is reasonably calculated to serve the most basic interests of the citizens of New Jersey.

Garrity came down in the heyday of the liberal Warren Court.  Today’s Supreme Court is much more conservative–and it is highly doubtful that Justice William O. Douglas’s  fanciful interpretation of the self-incrimination clause would find the support of five justices.   Here’s the thing: In order to get the Supreme Court to reconsider Garrity, the precedent has to be challenged.  Right now, police chiefs around the country abide the current rule with a shrug, “Can’t do anything about this situation.”

What we need is a good test case.  Maybe this Saylor incident is the case, maybe it isn’t.  But where the evidence of police wrongdoing is strong and the culprits invoke their “Garrity rights” and decline to tell investigators what happened, we need a police chief to fire them.  Let the discharged officers appeal their case to the Supreme Court so that the justices can overturn Garrity.

 

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