Here are the 12 reports of police misconduct that were tracked in our National Police Misconduct News Feed for this weekend, January 29-30, 2011:
- Four Reading PA police officers are the subject of a lawsuit filed by a former Philadelphia police officer who claims that he was run over by a police cruiser then, after he filed a complaint about it, three officers took him into an interrogation room then beat him while yelling at him about being a snitch. 
- A Lucas County OH sheriff’s sergeant was sentenced to 3 years in prison and a deputy was sentenced to 1 year for their roles in the death of an inmate and the subsequent cover-up. 
- Two Westland MI police officers are accused of overstepping their authority and using excessive force in an incident that was accidentally captured via one of the officer’s lapel microphones and that recording may overturn the resisting arrest conviction against that man. The tape appears to contradict the officers’ claims that the man assaulted them and instead captures one of the officers saying “Let’s take him. Fuck him.” before the man can be heard crying out and complaining about being punched in the face then his wife pleading with officers to stop. 
- Sacramento CA has settled an excessive force lawsuit for $96,000 to a man who claims that an officer needlessly beat him outside of a bar while he was restrained and injured him so badly that the jail refused to allow him to be booked without being taken to the hospital first. The suit then alleged that the officer drove him to the hospital and told him he was free to go. The officer resigned later but the department still refuses to say if it had anything to do with the case. 
- An Elk Grove CA police officer is under investigation after he shot a man in the face with a rifle while he was handcuffed in the backseat of a police cruiser. The department described the man, a domestic violence suspect, as being “out of control” at the time but didn’t specify exactly how the man was so dangerous while he was handcuffed so as to justify the use of deadly force. The shot apparently only grazed the man’s face and he was treated at the hospital. 
- A Philadelphia PA police officer was fired after he was arrested on aggravated assault charges and other charges on allegations that he threw a trash can at a donut shop waitress then pointed his gun at her and threatened to shot her… all because he got mad that she wouldn’t get off the phone. 
- A Valencia County NM deputy was arrested on a domestic violence charge for allegedly hurting his girlfriend with a wristlock during an argument that began when she refused to go to Home Despot with him. 
- A Philadelphia PA police officer was fired after charged with theft for allegedly getting caught shoplifting a $25 bottle of dietary supplements from a nutrition store. 
- And finally, a Rocky Mount VA police officer was given a special deal that will allow him to avoid trial for misusing a police database so long as he doesn’t work as a police officer for one year. The special deal isn’t even a plea bargain and came about because a loophole in the state laws governing use of police data apparently doesn’t apply to officers who have authorization to access the data they improperly share or use. 
An update before I finish with today’s review…
I’m planning on revamping our news feed and site in order to allow us to capture more information per report and generate our statistical analysis faster than we currently can in addition to making the site look more like it’s part of an actual project than it does now.
The news feed change definitely won’t be popular because entries won’t be descriptive anymore. Instead each report will be a comma-delimited package of data that will go directly into our database. Each entry will include details like agency name, state, officer name, victim name, incident type, incident status, incident date, report date, fatalities, race, a transparency index number, a link to the report, and other data. This extra data will allow us to more efficiently and effectively create statistics and track individual cases.
For example, what used to be this:
4 Reading PA cops subject of suit filed by ex-cop claiming 1 cop hit him w/car & others beat him for “being a snitch” http://is.gd/lGjh4u
Will look like this instead:
Reading Police,PA,Ofc Christopher Cortazzo,Roberto Clemente,EF A,Lawsuit,Active,0,On,10/06/08,01/31/11,H,5,http://is.gd/lGjh4u
Reading Police,PA,Ofc Angel Cabrera,Roberto Clemente,EF ,Lawsuit,Active,0,On,10/06/08,01/31/11,H,5,http://is.gd/lGjh4u
Reading Police,PA,Ofc Jeffrey Reichart,Roberto Clemente,EF,Lawsuit,Active,0,On,10/06/08,01/31/11,H,5,http://is.gd/lGjh4u
Reading Police,PA,Ofc Unnamed,Roberto Clemente,EF,Lawsuit,Active,0,On,10/06/08,01/31/11,H,5,http://is.gd/lGjh4u
While I know it won’t be a popular move since the news feed won’t be reader-friendly anymore. I do think it’s a good move because so many others are doing something similar to what we do with the news feed now that it doesn’t make sense for us to keep doing it the same way. After all, why have multiple sources for the same information all doing something similar, albeit with their own slants, when this project is designed to do more than just aggregate reports.
Remember, one of the main complaints we get from people like who want to cite our data for serious uses is that it’s just doesn’t look professional enough yet. So I want to change that perception and I have good reason to do so I think. After all, I didn’t put all this work into this project just to win a popularity contest, I want it to make a real difference. Hopefully most of you will agree with that reason for changing it up…
…who knows, maybe doing that will help us finally secure funding for this project so we can really stabilize it and make it more effective. Because, face it, right now we’re struggling to survive here, literally.
Besides, we’ll still do the daily reviews where will get into more detail about the reports covered each day, so it’s not a complete wash. But, if you think this is a bad move, let me know why because I’m certainly open to suggestions.
Anyway, that’s it for today, stay safe out there.